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Federal Way hoops team cleared of any wrongdoing

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Oct. 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm with No Comments »
October 28, 2009 10:22 pm

The Federal Way boys basketball saga is nearing its end and the Eagles will likely keep their 2008-09 state championship.

Seattle attorney Jeffrey Ganson, hired by the Federal Way School District to investigate allegations that the Eagles played an academically ineligible player last season, submitted his final report to the district on Tuesday.

“I find no factual support for any of the allegations in this matter, and therefore no factual support for any suggestion that the FWHS boys basketball team should be sanctioned under WIAA rules,” Ganson wrote in the report, which The News Tribune received on Wednesday.

Under investigation is if former Federal Way player J.T. Koontz, who transferred to Decatur over the summer, was academically ineligible during the 2008-09 season. His transcript showed two failing grades that would have made him ineligible for all or part of the season. Federal Way administrators claimed that the failing grades remained on his transcript because of clerical errors.

Ganson interviewed the English and math teachers who authorized the grade changes, along with administrators, secretaries and Federal Way coach Jerome Collins and Decatur coach Kevin Olson. The two teachers said there was never a time when Koontz would have been academically ineligible.

“I have found no evidence that Mr. Collins allowed the Student to play when he was academically ineligible, nor have I found evidence that Mr. Collins pressured teaches to change or maintain grades that would keep the Student eligible,” he wrote in the report.

Federal Way will present the independent investigation’s findings to a special committee of SPSL athletic directors as soon as next week. If the committee is not satisfied with the results, it can ask the West Central District or WIAA to appoint a fact-finder to further investigate.

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