by Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports
USA TODAY High School Sports is a partner of High School Football America
Don’t look now, but the ugliness surrounding the Bellevue football program was just made much more specific, immediate and official in a way that may forever tarnish some of the program’s greatest recent accomplishments.
As reported by the Seattle Times, a six-month investigation into alleged transgressions committed by the Bellevue football program uncovered suspected violations including but not limited to booster payments, the enrollment of football players at an alternative academy, tuition payments for the aforementioned football players at that academy, the falsification of student athlete residence and the intimate involvement of coaches in these activities.
The investigation was conducted by the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association and an independent investigator, and could bring a range of penalties for the legendary football program, netting anything from a simple probation to the forfeiture of one or more of the school’s state football titles.
Essentially, the investigation verified earlier independent reporting by the Seattle Times, which previously broke news of Bellevue players attending The Academic Institute and the involvement of booster club funds in those activities. The independent investigation did not look into separate claims made by the Times that the school has recruited athletes from outside its geographic border.
Bellevue officials declined to offer comment on the latest findings against the school, though that will do little to protect the school’s football program now that findings from an investigation by the WIAA have come to a conclusion.