Judge dismisses Bellevue football lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by angered parents and members of the Bellevue football booster club was dismissed by a King County Superior Court judge last week, ending their fight against the sanctions imposed on the football team after a widely publicized and controversial investigation.

The Bellevue Wolverine Football Club and parents Jarrett Johnson and Tami and Dinny Hansen filed a lawsuit against the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, KingCo Conference, Sea-King District No. 2 and the Bellevue School District in August. The group sought to nullify the “arbitrary, capricious” sanctions against the football team that were the result of a WIAA investigation and KingCo ruling.

“Whether due to a misunderstanding with BSD about the scope of the investigation or because persons within WIAA had long been jealous of Mr. Goncharoff’s success and desired to bring down the BHS football program, WIAA took the request from BSD as carte blanche to conduct an open-ended investigation into the BHS football program,” the lawsuit reads.

The plaintiffs’s lawsuit had challenged the sanctions using the state Administrative Procedures Act. A Superior Court judge, however, agreed with the defendants and ruled that the booster club did not have the grounds because they weren’t the direct recipients of the sanctions and the APA didn’t apply to the school district.

“Neither the subject matter (interscholastic athletics penalties levied against a public school district for rule violations by a non-profit athletic association or league) nor the Defendent (a public school district) fall within the scope of the APA… The APA only applies to “agencies,” and and the Defendent District is not an agency,” the defendants’ order to dismiss read.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on Dec. 2, meaning that the booster club and parents cannot refile.

“The WIAA is pleased with the ruling and will continue to provide a safe, fair and competitive environment for athletes around the state,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The school district declined to comment on the outcome.

Lawsuits filed by former assistant coach Pat Jones and coach Butch Goncharoff are still pending.

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