Five months after a veteran Metro police officer resigned and stepped down as president of the UNA football program after a scandal involving missing money, a new board of directors is trying to put the past behind them and look toward the future.
It was a scandal that almost jeopardized the season and kept the UNA Bears off the field, but that didn't happen.
"We've had so much more parent involvement than in the past, a record number of kids and a lot more people wanting to help UNA now," said UNA Recreation Association president Rod Sims.
Players and cheerleaders are making noise louder now than ever before thanks to sponsors who have stepped in to support the teams.
"Any money that is missing is the least of our worries," said UNA Recreation Association treasurer Craig Paxson. "People are just coming out of the woodwork saying 'I will help you guys financially, and with leadership.'"
There are now new folks in charge after money reportedly went missing under the leadership former league president and coach John Patton, who was also a former Metro Police officer.
The new board of directors wants to put the scandal behind them and focus on what's important - the kids.
"We're not only building football players, we're building community leaders here," Sims said. "We're just moving forward and doing what's best for the park and these kids."
The UNA Recreation Association has helped to keep thousands of youngsters off the streets and on the right track to success.
A record number of players signed up this year. Now the nonprofit wants to expand the recreational programs. It's not certain if the league will add basketball, baseball or soccer.
We know we need to have more of an athletic presence to draw more kids into our program," Paxson said.
The board is planning to start a tutorial program. They are also in the process of starting scholarships for players and cheerleaders who have participated in the UNA program.
"Really it's not just about football, it's really about academics," said Scott Harrison, the league's secretary.
The board of directors is also hoping to raise money to renovate the building that will house the tutorial program. It will not just be for the players but for the students in the community who needs help.
Former players, like Michael Beamon from Brentwood Academy, often come back to help mentor players. He says UNA laid the foundation for their success. He played under Patton.
"Coach Patton is a really good man. I've known him ever since I was 4 years old," Beamon said. "Despite the scandal stuff, I still think he's a good role model."
No criminal charges have been filed against Patton, but Metro police confirms the department and the district attorney's office are still investigating the allegations.
The 35-year police veteran resigned from the force so the internal investigation against him was suspended.
If you would like to donate money to football league or help renovate the tutorial building you can contact the board by visiting www.UNAbears.org.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Authorities in Jackson County have charged a man and a woman after a person was kidnapped from a park on Wednesday.More >
A group of teachers are being disciplined after they thought it would be funny to name a student “most likely to become a terrorist.”More >
Police are investigating a double-shooting at 104th Street and Holmes. One person is fighting for their life, while the second victim suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. This is the third double-shooting in Kansas City in the past 24 hours. This is a developing story. Stay tuned to KCTV5 News for more.More >
Thieves smashed their way inside an Independence man's home as his crystal-clear surveillance cameras rolled.More >
On Friday, thousands of people will return to a major metro water park. But as the park opens, the scene of a tragedy continues to tower in the skyline. Verruckt, the waterslide that took the life of a 10-year-old boy is still standing.More >
Responding to a feedback questionnaire about what her teachers could do better, Ava Bell said the school’s use of collective punishment was “a war crime” according to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.More >
Police say road rage is to blame after two people were shot as they sat in their car along Holmes Road during rush hour traffic Thursday.More >
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (Chipotle) is providing further information about the payment card security incident that Chipotle previously reported on April 25, 2017.More >