Garfield Sanctioned until 2012 for Athletic Rule Violations

(Update: there is a school meeting on this issue tonight at 6 p.m. at the Garfield Commons.)

From the Seattle Times:

As part of KingCo Conference sanctions imposed Monday, Garfield will not be eligible for the football postseason this year and in 2011. In addition, the school forfeited its 24-22 win over Sammamish.

All of the school's teams are on probation until Sept. 1, 2012, but will be eligible for the postseason.

Why? Students who were academically ineligible played in a game on Sept. 10th (which Garfield won). Both the head coach and the defensive coordinator resigned (according to the article both believed they would have been fired had they not done so). The coaches claim they tried to have a system in place for athletes to get grades/homework checked but "miscommunication" led to the ineligible players being on the field.

What does Ted Howard, principal at Garfield have to say?

When asked about the severity of the punishment, Garfield principal Ted Howard said, "It may seem harsh, but I can't really elaborate on some of the other things that were going on behind the scenes. For it to get to that extreme, there were definitely some other things going on."

There was some really hard thought taken into consideration, knowing how much Anthony Allen means to Garfield and the alumni here," Howard said. "He's a phenomenal coach ... I hired him. It was something that wasn't taken lightly."

Here are the self-imposed sanctions from SPS (this from the Times sports blog):
  • Received resignations from the head and assistant head football coaches.
  • Conducted a preliminary investigation of management of Garfield’s Athletic Program and placed the athletic director on administrative leave pending further investigation.
  • Installed current SPS athletic program liaison Greg Brashear as interim Athletic Director of Garfield. Mr. Brashear will lead a thorough audit of all Garfield teams.
  • Considering a redesign of athletics district-wide to insure compliance, coherence and consistency in interpretations of league rules and hiring of coaches.
  • Self-imposing discipline for Garfield Football Team that includes one year of probation for GHS varsity football, no playoffs eligibility for the current and 2011-12 football seasons and forfeiture of any games in which ineligible players participated.

The KingCo Conference will impose the following additional sanction:

  • An additional year of probation for the entire Garfield High School athletic program, starting from May 10, 2010 through September 1, 2012. (This probation was originally scheduled to end on September 1, 2011.)
I feel very sad for all the other teams at Garfield that will now be heavily scrutinized as well as be on probation. Most of the comments for both stories seem to feel there is more to this than just a couple of ineligible players. I sincerely hope not but it does seem like quite a lot of self-imposed sanctions almost as if the district knew if it didn't come down hard, the state athletic commission would. (Garfield is really taking it on the chin and the state audit report on the capital building program with Garfield as the poster child for all that is wrong in the program isn't even out yet.)

And, once again, the district needs to do an overhaul of its policies. How does it get this bad that the district doesn't have the consistency to make sure every school is on the same page?

The coaches had a telling comment:

"It's unfortunate, because of how much progress we've made with these guys just to believe in themselves, and then now they're just left out to dry, to fend for themselves."

No, they're not. They still have a fine school with good teachers and the same access to academic help as any other student. Another coach is in place. Life goes on.


dan dempsey said…
Interesting in how Garfield athletic violations get a rapid response (with heads rolling) but the Auditor's Findings into Superintendent and Board's incompetence merits a big "Yawn".
Anyone want to look at the other HSs in our district? How does a school get checked? Is it an anonymous tipster? Or are schools audited during the season?
Are all schools audited during the season? (I meant to say)
I think all the high schools do get checked but I don't know if it is every week or a spot-check.
GreyWatch said…
School started this year on Sept. 8. Given that Garfield was still hiring teachers at this point, how could anyone have had time to determine student eligibility? Did students even have their classes yet?
wsnorth said…
Lose track of millions of $$, oh, we better maybe perhaps do something about that one of these days.

Lose track of a few students' eligibility, oooh, we better crack down on that now!

At least now we know what they mean by accountability. "NOT ME"!
Stu said…
I posted about this earlier, but what bothers me the most, and what makes me think there has to be a WHOLE lot more to this than what we're hearing, is that they put all the other teams on probation as well. Why should the spring sports have to suffer because of something that happened while they weren't even in session?

The problem with the punishment, of course, is that it penalizes the students for something the adults did or condoned. The guilty parties should be punished, and the students involved made ineligible, but it sucks to hang the other kids out like this.

Stu said…
An update to my previous post . . .

It appears now, according to the Seattle Times -- and I don't always trust their reporting but it appears that they, eventually, get most of the story out there -- that the all the Garfield teams will be on probation but the other teams will still be eligible for the post season. So those not involved, as long as they don't have any other violations, will not be punished.

uxolo said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
uxolo said…
Greywatch, they determined the kids were ineligible based upon spring grades - even for 8th graders - the ONLY time an 8th graders' GRADES have any meaning whatsoever.

Grades are meaningless until 9th grade except for athletes.
SC Parent said…
Now THAT'S an action list!! Using that same response to address the audit, we would have seen:

* Received resignations from the board president and the superintendent.
* Conducted a preliminary investigation of management of District's finances and placed the finance director on administrative leave pending further investigation.
* Installed someone competent (people reading this would have specific names) as interim Superintendent, who will lead a thorough audit of all SPS departments.
* Considering a redesign of policies district-wide to insure compliance, coherence and consistency in interpretations of state law and other state/federal requirements.
* Self-imposing discipline for all central office managers that includes one year of probation, no performance bonus eligibility for the current and 2011-12 academic seasons and forfeiture of any anticipated pay raises during that time.
Maureen said…
So what level at SPS "self imposed" the sanctions? Was it Ted Howard, MGJ, or someone in between?

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