Following a review of Bishop Blanchet (Seattle) High’s self-reported recruiting violations, the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association confirmed the school’s self-imposed two-year probation periods for the football and girls’ basketball programs, according to The Seattle Times.
Bishop Blanchet also reportedly forfeited all 55 games from its past two girls’ basketball campaigns — including second- and third-place finishes at the 2014 and 2015 Class 3A state tournaments — as well the seven wins from the football team’s 2014 season. The memories, of course, can’t be erased.
The WIAA appointed former Everett (Wash.) Public Schools superintendent Karst Brandsma to oversee the investigation, which included 29 interviews with school officials, parents, community members and financial donors, according to a 10-page report released by the organization.
Brandsma’s discoveries were violations of WIAA Rule 27.0.0:
“No student-athlete may receive, or be offered, any remunerations of any kind, or to receive or to be offered any special inducement of any kind which is not made available to applicants who enroll or continue to be enrolled in the school or apply to the school.”
The violations included a trio of donors making financial contributions to three girls’ basketball players in the form of tuition payments and personal checks totaling $16,563, per the report. One of the players allegedly received four “lunch payments” that added up to $1,350. Must’ve been tasty.
As for the football program, the investigation uncovered two checks totaling $16,000 deposited into an account created by the school’s business office at the request of the coach, who then allegedly concocted a financial-aid package for four players based on their participation on the football team.
Upon its own investigation into the matter, Bishop Blanchet dismissed head football coach Aaron Maul from his post this past May, although he was kept on as a physical education teacher, and the school did not renew the contract of head girls’ basketball coach Bryan Willison.
The Seattle Times obtained an apology letter written by Bishop Blanchet president Antonio DeSapio to the families of students as well as the school’s faculty and staff following the latest investigation:
“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. With this independent review by the WIAA now complete, I consider this matter closed and I call on our community to move forward together.”
New football coach Kyle Moore led Bishop Blanchet to an 11-2 season and an appearance in the Class 3A state semifinals. The team never won more than seven games in Maul’s five seasons. Meanwhile, new girls’ basketball coach Greg Bruns is off to a 2-0 start in his first campaign.