Bellevue High football put on three year probation | District reports coaching, illegal recruiting violations

Bellevue High School’s football team has been sanctioned after an investigation revealed the program and some of its coaches violated Washington Interscholastic Activities Association articles.

Bellevue quarterback Justus Rogers tries to escape the grasp of Eastside Catholic defensive player Brandon Wellington during the 2014 Class 3A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.

Bellevue High School’s football team has been sanctioned after an investigation revealed the program and some of its coaches violated Washington Interscholastic Activities Association articles.

An investigation carried out by a third party found the football program had conducted out-of-season coaching and illegal recruiting, which are against both district policies and the WIAA articles, according to a Bellevue School District news release issued late Wednesday.

The school’s football program will be on probation for three years, and the school will lose KingCo revenue shares this year and two additional school years (2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017).

Head Coach Butch Goncharoff received a two game suspension for his role in the WIAA infractions, in addition to probation. Another unnamed coach also received game suspensions and probation. All of the coaches will undergo mandatory training this spring and continuing through the program’s probationary period.

Bellevue High School’s other sports programs are being evaluated to ensure compliance with district policies and WIAA articles.

“Right now, our focus remains on our students and minimizing the impact of the self-report on students participating in our football program,” said Bellevue High School Principal Scott Powers in a statement. “Bellevue High is a close knit community and we support each other.”

The violations were discovered after the district received complaints about the football program and its staff in January. The football program reported the violations to the KingCo Conference on Tuesday.

The first violation for “coaching out of season,” stemmed from a strength and conditioning program run both during and off season. The second violation, “illegal recruiting,” was reportedly related to a family being given inducements to participate in the program.

The identity of the family involved and what they received is not public information at this time.

Jeff Lowell, the district’s director of athletics and activities, lauded the program’s decision to self-report the infractions.

“It’s a difficult situation,” he said. “In my mind, the Bellevue High Football program showed a great deal of strength in self-reporting the violations and accepting the sanctions.”

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