High School

West Charlotte coaches, AD suspended

Will this cause Grimsley to pick up another football victory for 2007? Probably. Does this mean Page will move on and play for the State 4-AA title on Saturday? I doubt it.

But all of this eligibilty talk does make for interesting reading.

West Charlotte High’s athletics director and two football coaches were suspended with pay today, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools investigates why the false address for an ineligible player belonged to the athletics director’s in-laws.

The school system, meanwhile, is also taking additional steps to review the eligibility of players on Independence High’s roster, said CMS spokeswoman Nora Carr. She would not elaborate, to avoid jeopardizing the outcome of the review.

“We don’t want any pall hanging over that team heading into (Saturday’s) state championship game,” she said. “It just makes sense to go back and do some further investigation.”

The West Charlotte investigation is being turned over to attorney Landis Wade of the Charlotte law firm of Helms, Mulliss and Wicker. He has helped with CMS personnel investigations for more than a decade, including a review earlier this year of whether Myers Park High coerced struggling students to drop out and improperly reported their departures.

For now, CMS has suspended West Charlotte athletics director Masanori Toguchi, who was largely responsible for verifying players’ eligibility. During an intense series of checks last month about the eligibility of several football players, including senior wide receiver Nicholas Mata, the athletics director apparently never told CMS the home belongs to his wife’s grandmother.

Also suspended: head coach Maurice Flowers and assistant coach Hazel Richardson.

Ultimately, school principals must sign off on an athlete’s eligibility. Carr, the CMS spokeswoman, said West Charlotte Principal John Modest has not been suspended. She would not comment on whether he is part of the review.

“We’re looking at a wide range of issues related to the investigation and talking to a number of individuals to try to determine who knew what, when,” Carr said.

She said it was inappropriate to elaborate.

It’s unclear when Wade will finish his investigation. “It’s important to get this right,” Carr said. “Whatever time it takes, is the time we’re going to give it.”
*****from the Charlotte Observer and www.charlotte.com*****