Bellevue parents push state to change WIAA authority

Bellevue parents say the state needs to change how they manage amateur athletics.

Bellevue parents now want the state to step in and change the way the WIAA operates.

It's the latest twist in the story of the highly decorated and heavily sanctioned Bellevue High School football program.

The program was put on probation, sanctioned, and coaches were fired after a lengthy investigation found recruiting violations and misconduct surrounding the public school program.

However, State Senator Michael Baumgartner, (R) Spokane, says he's heard complaints from parents and coaches about due process and state oversight.  He says a bill, SB 5583, would seek to add a layer of oversight for the state's governing interscholastic sports agency.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, former coaches and parents of players stepped forward to accuse investigators of overstepping their boundaries.  However, they did not dispute particular allegations.  WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese also offered a lengthy explanation of the organization's operations, investigatory history, and Bellevue findings.

James Hasty, a former WSU and NFL football player who coached at Bellevue before moving to Seattle Schools, accused the WIAA of uneven enforcement.  He claimed in the hearing that he's been encouraged by other coaches to pursue homeless students for a high school program because they are difficult to register to a particular address.  Hasty wondered why the WIAA had not investigated those claims more thoroughly.

Baumgartner said after the hearing he hopes to reintroduce his bill at the next session in January, and believes there is support for making a change.

© 2017 KING-TV


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