A two-month review of Bishop Blanchet’s football and girls basketball programs delivered this week to the WIAA confirms self-imposed penalties and self-reported violations approved by Metro League.
A two-month review of Bishop Blanchet’s football and girls basketball programs completed this week for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) confirmed violations and sanctions self-imposed by the Seattle high school last spring.
Bishop Blanchet self-reported recruiting violations by both sports and proposed sanctions in April after a monthlong investigation. Those sanctions included placing both programs on probation for two years, forfeiting all girls basketball games for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons and forfeiting all football games for 2014. The girls basketball program also forfeited second- and third-place trophies from the Class 3A state tournament for those seasons. The Metro League voted to approve the sanctions June 18.
The review was conducted by Karst Brandsma, a retired school-district administrator who was appointed by WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese in September. Brandsma interviewed former and current Blanchet school personnel as well as parents, community members and financial donors, according to a 10-page report.
“While it was difficult and humbling to review this report of violations in two of our athletic programs … the independent WIAA fact-finder confirmed our own internal investigation of the facts,” wrote Antonio DeSapio, Bishop Blanchet’s president, in a letter to faculty, staff and families. “With this independent review by the WIAA now complete, I consider this matter closed and I call on our community to move forward together.”
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Colbrese said the matter is resolved as far as the WIAA is concerned. “It was a complete fact-finding because of the cooperation of all those involved,” he said Wednesday.
Among the violations for girls basketball cited in the report were monthly support checks and transfers from the personal accounts of three donors for a total of $14,563.96 for student-athletes paid to Bishop Blanchet from 2013 to 2015. Among the football violations confirmed were two donors contributing a total of $16,000 to a special football scholarship fund and an assistant coaching out of season during lunch hours.
The school also said it would take several steps to assure future compliance with WIAA rules, including: forming a compliance committee; updating policies and procedures to build safeguards; suspending affiliation with youth feeder programs in girls and boys basketball for 2015-16; and ongoing training on WIAA and Metro League rules for school employees and parents.
Two coaches lost their jobs after the reported violations. Aaron Maul was dismissed as head football coach in May, although he retained his teaching position. Freshman coach Kyle Moore was promoted to head coach and led Bishop Blanchet to the state semifinals, where the Braves lost to Bellevue, itself the subject of an ongoing investigation into alleged recruiting violations. Maul was hired Friday as head football coach at Seattle Prep. Bryan Willison did not have his contract renewed as girls basketball coach and was replaced by Greg Bruns.