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Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - Page updated at 01:18 PM

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WIAA strips Chief Sealth of two state titles

Seattle Times staff reporters

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has stripped the Chief Sealth High School girls basketball team of its two state titles and forced the team to forfeit all of its games for the last four seasons because the coaches illegally recruited players.

The WIAA executive board today responded to the state's largest recruiting scandal with the heftiest penalties in the history of Washington high school athletics. The 10-member board's vote was unanimous.

"It is our conclusion that significant recruiting did occur and the nature of the incidents and multiple occurrences cause us to believe they were intentional," said Art Jarvis, superintendent of Enumclaw School District and a WIAA board member.

Chief Sealth recruiting

A Seattle Times investigation found that head coach Ray Willis and his assistants, Amos Walters and Laura Fuller, recruited players for more than three years, violating numerous amateur athletic rules:

Related documents:

Related stories

The executive board concluded that Chief Sealth:

• Must return both the 2005 and 2006 3A state titles as well as the district titles the team won those same years. Those penalties were recommended by the board of the Sea-King District, in which Chief Sealth competes.

• Must forfeit all games for the last four seasons, starting with the 2002-03 season.

• Must vacate "all state basketball positions, trophies and titles" during that four-year period. In addition to the two state titles, the school finished third at the state tournament in 2003-04.

• Will be allowed to participate in the district tournament following the 2006-07 season.

A Seattle School District investigation in April found that Chief Sealth coach Ray Willis and assistants Laura Fuller and Amos Walters lured five players to the school with promises of starting spots and college scholarships — all in violation of state high-school athletic rules, which don't allow recruiting of any kind.

Chief Sealth Principal John Boyd had mixed emotions while hearing the sanctions.

"I am pleased they are going to give us the opportunity to participate in future contests, but I am disappointed that they have upheld a decision to take away the titles," he said. "I think this is the wrong decision."

Ken Axelson, principal at Lynden High School and vice president of the WIAA board, said "we believe we took a look at this and separated out that high emotion that was there."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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