Basketball by the Book, Part 3

Two Vashon hoopsters are benched pending eligibility investigations.

The Wolverines (3-0) recently began their first season under Anthony Bonner, Vashon class of '86, who was hired in October to replace Irons. The team's second PHL game is slated for tonight, December 14, against Metro at Soldan.

Northway declined to release the names of any students whose status is under scrutiny. But the athletic director says Vashon has dispatched its social worker to conduct home visits with basketball players in order to verify their addresses and living situations. One home visit has been completed so far, Northway says. "We are earnestly checking on all current players to make sure they're where they're supposed to be," he adds.

Northway says he has implemented expanded academic eligibility guidelines for all student athletes. "Before the rule was just: 'Hey, are you attending school?' Now you have to be here 70 percent of the time, period. If you're not here 70 percent, you won't be playing."

Coaches generally keep tabs on their players' academic standing and report problems to the athletic director (or principal, in smaller schools), who is ultimately responsible for certifying eligibility. Any games in which ineligible players participate must be forfeited, according to MSHSAA bylaws.

This season the Public High League is taking extra steps to ensure that all its athletic directors understand the MSHSAA rulebook. On December 6, the PHL and the MSHSAA held a joint seminar on eligibility in St. Louis for all PHL athletic directors.

"We're trying to get this cleaned up," says PHL director Dave Cook. "I don't want us to have any ineligible players."

A coach in the Suburban North Conference says that if Vashon's roster does not change, certain players might come under the microscope come tournament time in March. "Nobody is gonna say anything to MSHSAA until close to playoff time," the coach predicts. "That's just the nature of competition."

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