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Investigation finds that FW state title hoops team did not use ineligible player

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Oct. 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm with No Comments »
October 2, 2009 2:18 pm

The Federal Way School District has found that an allegation that the Federal Way boys basketball team used an academically ineligible player last season when the Eagles won the Class 4A state championship is not true.

“There was no wrongdoing,” said Diane Turner, the school district’s chief communications officer. “There were no violations.”

According to Turner, after senior J.T. Koontz transferred from Federal Way to Decatur over the summer, Decatur coach Kevin Olson discovered that Koontz, who played for the Eagles last season, failed two classes in the second semester of the 2008-09 school year. Athletes are required to maintain at least a C-minus in all classes to be academically eligible in the Federal Way School District.

However, periodic grade checks revealed that Koontz had high enough grades during the basketball season to be eligible, Turner said.

She said Federal Way athletic director Miguel Perez shared the school’s findings with South Puget Sound League president Rick Wells, who asked Perez to present the findings at the league’s next meeting on Oct. 15. The district will also appoint an independent assessor to review its report on the investigation.

Federal Way’s eligibility requirements are among the strictest in the state. Many districts adhere to the WIAA’s rule that allows students failing one class to play sports.

Eagles coach Jerome Collins said the school district told him not to speak publicly about the investigation.

“I would love to comment, but I’ve been advised not to,” he said. “I’m not able to comment, but in time all of this will be cleared up. It will all come to light.”

Federal Way defeated Garfield 62-54 in the state title game on March 7, winning its first state championship and capping a 21-2 season.

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