File photo A Bellevue Wolverines running back gets tackled during the season opener in 2015 against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) in a non-league contest.

Bellevue High School to appeal WIAA ban on football post-season play

The Bellevue School District recently announced they will back Bellevue High School’s request to lift sanctions imposed on football players last summer.

In 2016, an investigation revealed the high school’s football program and some of its coaches had violated Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules. The football program had conducted out-of-season coaching and illegal recruiting.

The football program was put on probation for the 2016-17 school year and is supposed to serve their last year of sanctions, which includes a ban on post-season play, this upcoming 2017-18 school year.

Elizabeth Sytman, a spokesperson for the Bellevue School District, said the district has followed through with its work to realign with WIAA rules.

“It’s at the point where this really is about the WIAA unfairly penalizing students who were not even in the program at the time [of the investigation],” Sytman said.

Bellevue High School has established clear boundaries with a new Booster Club and has rebuilt their coaching staff. The district also instituted additional oversight, revised policies and procedures and implemented mandatory trainings for staff to address any concerns raised as a result of the district’s learning process, according to a news release.

A group of representatives from the school district and Bellevue High School plan to speak at the WIAA’s next executive board meeting on Sept. 24. These representatives include school district Athletic Director Jeff Lowell, Bellevue High School Athletic Director Lauren McDaniel, Head Football Coach Mark Landes and Booster Club President Dan Sullivan.

This will be the second time in recent months the district has requested the association lift the ban. In March, the WIAA executive board denied their request.

WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said the executive board didn’t want to take action in March without getting information from the WIAA District 2 and the KingCo League. Colbrese expects that information to be presented by the district at the September executive board meeting.

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