Bellevue (Wash.) principal says depiction of football program is inaccurate

Bellevue (Wash.) principal says depiction of football program is inaccurate

Football

Bellevue (Wash.) principal says depiction of football program is inaccurate

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The principal of Bellevue High School wrote a letter to The Seattle Times to respond to an editorial that followed sanctions being levied against the school’s powerhouse football program by the state association.

The school self-reported coaching and illegal recruiting violations. Coach Butch Goncharoff, who led Bellevue to multiple state titles and a 67-game win streak, has been suspended for two games.

RELATED: Bellevue placed on probation for violations

In the editorial, The Times said the penalties were too light:

“The penalties may be commensurate with the specific violations, but they’re too light considering the corrosive effect of such behavior on high-school athletics. And that should be taken seriously amid the current epidemic of scandals involving affluent sports organizations that break rules. It’s especially sad that this scourge is extending down to the level of high-school games played by kids.”

Here is the text of Powers’ letter to The Times:

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

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