Bellevue (WA) principal writes editorial in response to allegations of illegal recruiting

Bellevue High School principal Scott Powers has gone on-the-record with a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times about the recent illegal recruiting and coaching allegations that resulted in probation for the school’s football program.  Powers apparently penned the letter in response to a June 5th Opinion story by the newspaper’s editorial board titled Bellevue football program fumbles its integrity, harms those who followed the rules.

Bellevue self-reported the violations.  Head coach Butch Goncharoff will serve a two-game suspension and the team is on three-years probation.

Below is Powers’ response:

School athletic programs are woven into the fabric of communities across the nation and provide amazing life experience for students. The academic and extra-curricular experiences provided by our school are a reflection of our community. They also speak to the dedication of our staff members who work tirelessly on behalf of our students.

The Times editorial on Bellevue’s football program was misleading and inaccurate [“Bellevue football program fumbles its integrity, harms those who followed the rules,” Opinion, June 5]. When two of our coaches were approached by a family in need, they helped. This student-athlete has been involved in the program for several years.

Instead of connecting the family with district and community resources, they took it upon themselves, from their own pocketbooks, to help with the basic necessities of food and rent. Neither coach realized their actions were a violation of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recruiting articles. We accept that they should have known, and we self-reported the infraction. To portray this mistake as “illegal recruiting” is wrong.

The portrayal of head coach Butch Goncharoff, his staff members and our school by the editorial board is inaccurate and unfair. Butch consistently models team, family, respect and brotherhood, and it is through these values that his teams become a community year after year. The championships are a byproduct of the community he creates and his dedication to our students.

Scott Powers, principal, Bellevue High School

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.