By Nate Sanford       

     Aaron Maul, head football coach at Bishop Blanchet High School, was fired two weeks ago due to recruiting violations. The school made the decision to fire him after a month long investigation into allegations of WIAA rule violations. The investigation revealed that Maul had been using scholarships to encourage athletes to play for Blanchet, even if they were unable to pay the private school’s tuition.

That type of recruiting is a direct violation of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) rules, which state, “Students who demonstrate special skills and talent in any of the activities under the jurisdiction of the (WIAA) should not be subjected to pressures to enroll or continue to be enrolled in a member school outside of their normal enrollment area.” After making this discovery, Blanchet self-reported the infraction to the Metro League and made plans to meet later to discuss further actions.

Maul’s firing elicited a primarily negative response from the students and parents at the school, who staged a walkout in protest on May 8th. They felt that Maul was let go unfairly and that there has been a lack of transparency between them and the administration. A petition to reinstate Maul was started on change.org and gathered almost 2,000 signatures. The petition states: “We are concerned about whether Coach Maul may have been fired and personally blamed by the school’s administration for alleged future disbursal of funds by Bishop Blanchet High School.”  Since little information has yet been released about the incident, it is hard to tell how accurate this may be.

Maul had been head coach at Blanchet since 2009. He worked as PE teacher and head football coach. In the weeks following his dismissal there has been an outpouring of support from both current and former students. Raemo Trevino, former member of Blanchet’s football team, tweeted: “Sad that Blanchet did that to Coach Maul. Don’t go there anymore, but all of his work was out of love.” Maul himself tweeted: “Blessed to have coached such amazing young men, and to have worked with such a special coaching staff!!!!….onto better things!!!”

The recent incident at Blanchet is not the only incident of recruiting violations in Seattle high schools; Bellevue High School was also under investigation last year for recruiting charges. Though the investigation found no concrete evidence of violations, investigator Karin Cathey did say that she found many things that “might be easily perceived as recruiting.” Chief Sealth High School was also under investigation for recruiting violations and was stripped of its state title in 2006.

Blanchet currently plans to have Maul continue as a PE teacher next year; the position of head coach will be filled the current freshman coach, Kyle Moore.

See the change.org petition here

UPDATE: Bellevue High, 12-time state champion, recieves penalties for similar recruiting violations. Read more here

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