from the Charlotte Observer and charlotte.com:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched an “immediate investigation” shortly before West Charlotte’s playoff game Friday night that involves the school’s athletics director.
The focus: whether he had any connection to the use of a false address by a player who had been removed from the team earlier in the day.
The outcome could force West Charlotte to forfeit its 13 victories in the season that ended Friday night with a 10-8 loss to Independence in a state semifinal playoff game.
The new investigation follows the announcement Friday morning that Nicholas Mata, a senior wide receiver, is ineligible. He was dismissed from the team after CMS determined he does not live at the address his family had given the school system to prove residency.
Independence High also lost a football player Friday — its second of the playoffs — and CMS handed out other sanctions involving winter sports teams. The punishments came after a series of interviews, record checks and home visits by CMS, prompted by a two-month Observer investigation.
After CMS announced those actions, the Observer found public records that show the false address for Mata belongs to in-laws of West Charlotte’s athletics director, Masanori Toguchi. During an intense series of checks the past two weeks about the eligibility of Mata and some other players, the athletics director — who is largely responsible for verifying players’ eligibility — apparently never told CMS the home belongs to his wife’s grandmother.
“The key people doing the investigation had no knowledge of it,” said CMS spokeswoman Nora Carr.
She said it was premature to speculate why the district’s investigators didn’t know. She would not say whether the athletics director shared the information. “We’re getting into a potential personnel matter,” she said.
Toguchi told the Observer shortly before kickoff Friday night that the home was in his wife’s side of the family, declining to comment further.
This is Toguchi’s first full year at West Charlotte and as an athletics director. He started in May after leaving Harding University High, where he was a wrestling coach.
Nicholas Mata played regularly for West Charlotte. He is one of four members of the team who played last year at Olympic High.
In April, Olympic’s coach was hired to lead West Charlotte. The coach, Maurice Flowers, would not discuss eligibility questions this week.
*****West Charlotte ended Grimsley’s post-season run and Independence knocked Page out of the playoffs*****