The school met this week with members of the SeaKing District 2 board in an effort to roll back some of the sanctions placed on the football program.
Bellevue High School leaders have filed another appeal of sanctions placed on their storied football program, seeking to roll back a proposed postseason ban and limit a review that could result in the forfeiture of titles.
The school met this week with members of the SeaKing District 2 board to outline its appeal, said Tom Doyle, the director of the district.
In the appeal, Bellevue officials wrote they have ended the relationship with their football booster club and plan to form a new club to support the team. They also described new training, oversight and actions taken to ensure rules are followed in the future.
Bellevue asked the SeaKing board to reconsider a proposed sanction that could result in a four-year postseason ban. Officials argued that it “is unduly imposed on students who were not in high school when infractions occurred.”
Bellevue football investigation:
Conference officials had also previously determined that Bellevue and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association should continue an investigation to determine whether improperly recruited athletes participated in games — an investigation that could result in the forfeiture of titles. Bellevue is seeking to avoid that investigation, saying evidence of recruiting is based on “innuendo, rumor and supposition.”
The school and district instead are proposing to conduct their own investigation. A proposal that would suspend donations to the football program for four years also is overly harsh, Bellevue argued.
Doyle, the SeaKing district director, doesn’t vote on issues that come before the SeaKing board, but the board made the determination that he should not sit in on deliberations because he is the father-in-law of the Bellevue School District’s director of athletics. Lance Gatter, a former Bellevue High athletic director who is now the athletic director at Inglemoor High, did not participate in the hearing or deliberations.
The district board is comprised of officials from a variety of schools in the King County area.
After a Seattle Times investigation led to an independent investigation of the Bellevue program last year, the school self-reported violations and potential remedies to its conference. The conference added stiffer sanctions, and Bellevue appealed. A board of conference principals issued a revised set of sanctions last month, which Bellevue is appealing.
Doyle said the SeaKing board hopes to reach a decision in the coming days. Bellevue then could appeal that to a group of district directors from around the state. Ultimately, it then could be appealed to the WIAA’s executive board.