DAVE ROSS

Rob McKenna told there was ‘no scope’ to Bellevue football investigation

Apr 28, 2016, 9:08 AM | Updated: 10:47 am
Bellevue High School Wolverines...
An independent investigation found a series of potential violations on the Bellevue High School football program. (Image courtesy Bellevue Wolverines Facebook)
(Image courtesy Bellevue Wolverines Facebook)

The thing that might trouble former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna most regarding the allegations against the Bellevue Wolverine Football Club is that students might not be receiving the education that should be available to them.

A report released this week alleges coaches and administration knowingly violated state sports rules for years. Included in the report is the allegation that coaches have directed athletes to attend an alternative school in order to be eligible to play football, instead of attending Bellevue High School.

Related: Football club president is ‘insulted’ over investigation

“…students came into Bellevue to play football but not actually go to class,” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “It’s such a shame that they would play football but not be given the advantage of going to school at one of the finest academic high schools in the state.”

The alternative school has been called a “diploma mill.KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz pointed out that students “basically pay about $1,700 a month for their tuition” and then receive their diploma. But that raises another issue: the report alleges students and their families weren’t the only ones paying tuition; the booster club was also helping foot the bill.

McKenna told Dave he spoke with someone from the district who said the investigators, hired by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, went beyond the scope of the investigation.

“They said there is no scope,” McKenna explained. He was told that the investigators “demanded” records of students in other programs unrelated to football, he added.

It was a similar statement made by John Connors, president of the Bellevue Wolverine Football Club, earlier this week.

“These folks had no intent of having an open and honest fact-finding mission,” Connors told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

One of the investigators, Robert Westinghouse, told KIRO Radio that they simply followed the facts. Fellow investigator Carl Blackstone said that following the facts was difficult. Unlike other clients they’ve had — such as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle and Tacoma schools — the Bellevue district, coaching staff or the football club were not cooperative with them.

“It’s a crime to obstruct an investigation,” McKenna said. However, “Investigators were in the mindset that no one should be in their way.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Rob McKenna told there was ‘no scope’ to Bellevue football investigation