El Cerrito High School Football Drill Sparks National Controversy

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A well known high school football coach in the East Bay -- who's also the school's athletic director -- has been told to leave campus. 

Jacob Rincon, the coach at El Cerrito High School, has been placed on administrative leave and may have been suspended after a 2019 video of a controversial drill at the school’s football practice resurfaced and went viral.

It’s called the "machine gun" drill, players getting hit over and over again by two other players. The director of sports medicine at UCSF Children's Hospital says the drill brings up medical concerns.

“Any time you are repetitively hit, your body is falling down, there’s a risk of chronic traumatic issues happening so concussion risks, head injury risks,” said Dr. Nirav Pandya.

One parent said he would just like to see the coach back on the job.

“A lot of the boys don’t even want to go to school because coach Jake is not around now,” he said.

“Coach Jake is a great guy,” said track coach Kevin Cassman. “He’s a family man and he really cares about the kids.”

A well-known high school football coach, who's also the athletic director, has been told to leave campus. Jacob Rincon, from El Cerrito High School, has been placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced of a controversial drill named “machine gun.” Raj Mathai spoke to Dr. Nirav Pandya, of UCSF Children’s Hospital, about the dangers of high school football.

According to an NBC source with direct knowledge of the football program, the drill happened when the coach wasn’t there. The source also said the assistant coach who ran the drill was fired shortly after.

“I would like to see what the coach has to say. I want to hear his side. There's always two sides to every story,” said a parent.

The drill also is getting national attention in light of the video.

Former NFL coach Jim Mora Jr. tweeted,  "This is so far out of line, it’s horrible. Who can ever justify this? If a coach teaches this, he isn’t someone you should ever allow your kid around. This is horrible".

And ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit tweeted in part, “parents, do your homework. Do not allow your kids to play for coaches that do drills like this."

The question is: Why was Rincon suspended now and not two and a half years ago?

West Contra Costa School District didn’t answer that question, instead saying, “The behavior is unacceptable and inconsistent with our values. The safety of students and staff are our top priority and we take these matters very seriously. The district is currently conducting a full investigation.”

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