The victims include the students who legitimately lived within the Bellevue School District who never got to play for their school.

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A WIN is a win, athletes often say. No matter how ugly the game was played, no matter how close the score, it goes into the books as a win — unless it’s blemished by an asterisk.

Ever since Ford Frick, commissioner of Major League Baseball, threatened in 1961 to use “some distinctive mark” in recording Roger Maris’ 61 home runs, the asterisk has been the punctuation of choice to call attention to an athletic record, usually in an unflattering way. Frick wanted it made clear that Babe Ruth, the previous season home-run record holder, did it in 154 games, Maris in 162.

Since then, the asterisk comes off the bench any time there’s a hint of athletic skulduggery. The investigation released Tuesday of the Bellevue High School football program warrants a shower of these infamous stars on the school’s 13 appearances and 11 victories in the state 3A football championships over the past 15 years.

The investigation, conducted by two former federal prosecutors hired by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, found:

• Bellevue coaches and school administrators accepted or did not monitor false addresses used by players to gain eligibility.

• Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff encouraged players with academic problems to attend the Academic Institute, where their tuition was paid for or subsidized by football boosters (credits from the institute have been under scrutiny by the NCAA for the past three years).

• Between 2002 and 2012, the Bellevue Wolverine Football Club paid the school’s coaches $588,568, including $312,059 that was not approved by the school board despite a rule in 2007 that payments more than $500 needed the board’s consent.

• School district administrators and coaches “interfered with and obstructed” the investigation.

Penalties could range from probation to forfeiture of state championships. Beyond the WIAA process, the Bellevue School Board should scrutinize the actions of its administrators and coaches and mete out appropriate discipline. The booster club must be reined in.

The asterisks in the chart above are meant for the coaches, boosters and school administrators who carried out this deceit and cheating.

They are not aimed at the victims, who include the students legitimately within the Bellevue district who never got to play for their school. Or to all the athletes, especially those in championship games, who played against Bellevue and might have won on a level playing field.

Most important, the distinctive mark is not intended for athletes who played on Bellevue’s teams over the past 15 years. The adults who rigged the competition have already given these players an internal asterisk that will forever corrupt their memories of what it meant to be among champions.