“It’s all about the kids.”
You hear that all the time from coaches, parents and a lot of people involved in youth and high school sports. But a lot of times, it isn’t about the kids. Sometimes it’s about ego, sometimes it’s about money and most of the time it’s about winning.
Bellevue High School football – recently embroiled in a scandal that should make you sick to your stomach – isn’t about the kids. After being the gold standard for football programs in the state for years, plenty of ugly nasty things about the program were unveiled including recruitment and a diploma mill, and the hammer has finally come down on them. The KingCo Conference came down hard on the Western Washington 3A school for recruitment violations and allegations of paying players. They’ll be banned from postseason play for four years much to the chagrin of the parents, former coaches and booster club.
The Bellevue Wolverines Football Club — the boosters — are about as tone deaf as me singing a Katy Perry song. Listen to parts of their response after the KingCo dropped the ruling that Bellevue shouldn’t be allowed to compete for a championship.
“The four-year penalties will fall mainly on kids who had nothing to do with this dispute. Robbing our kids’ right to compete is not the solution, nor is depriving them of the ability to receive the same booster support that other area teams receive.
Supporting athletics, the arts, and other extracurricular activities is precisely what the community should be doing, and the conference’s action sets a precedent that should raise a red flag to everyone.”
So now let me bring up what the KingCo Conference is robbing kids of. This is from the Seattle Times…
“In December, after the team lost the state-title game, starting lineman Omar Dyles was bullied and harassed in the Bellevue High School weight room by the team’s former strength coach, according to a district investigation of the incident. Afterward, Dyles talked of leaving the team.”
Now Dyles attended the “Academic Institute” a “school” in the “Bellevue School District” – where Dyles attended instead of the actual public school. A future story would come out showing that this institute was merely a diploma mill for the school to put football players. Tests were easy. Football players didn’t do homework and due to state laws, if a private school didn’t have a football team, they could go play for the local public school. Neato! All for the kids right?
Anyways after Dyles talked of leaving the team, he was called out of class at the institute and into an administrator’s office where he was left alone with assistant Bellevue football coach Jeff Razore. Razore informed Dyles that he would “lose his scholarship at Academic Institute and he would not have the same college football opportunities,” according to school district records.
Razore then showed Dyles a UW football coach’s contact information, records and said things like “I can get you in any school.”
Razore disputes these official district records saying he was instead trying to provide guidance and “ended the meeting with a hug.”
Awww how heartwarming. I’m so glad you’re dangling a kids financial and educational future on a string and then ending with a hug, coach.
In what universe is this okay with high school sports?
I’m all for things being competitive, but you have an assistant coach threatening to pull a scholarship from a teenager if he doesn’t play high school football? What kind of life lesson does that teach Bellevue? Mr. Razore – who comes from a family worth millions – has to be a special kind of grown man to be doing this to a kid.
Oh and the Academic Institute – according to the Seattle Times – was a “private school” where tuition was made free for football players, parents sometimes were given access to grades and allowed to change them, teachers quit in disgust when they learned their grades were more like suggestions. Anything to keep them eligible right?
This would raise red flags in the NCAA, much less a high school. In fact the NCAA actually had trouble transferring credits for Bellevue players recruited to colleges. But hey, it’s all for the kids and how they can further their career right?
By Brandon Hansen
Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent.