A week after the Crook County High School wrestling team earned its seventh straight Intermountain Conference title in a row, CCHS head coach Pete Lucas has been suspended from any further involvement with the wrestling team or individual wrestlers.
>CCHS head wrestling coach Pete Lucas gets suspended in the aftermath of a weight card violation
In a statement released by Gary Peterson, superintendent of the Crook County School District, the suspension, which took effect on Friday, prohibits Lucas from coaching at this weekend's Class 4A state wrestling tournament or being present at any practices prior to the state meet to be held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum Thursday through Saturday.
According to Peterson, the action stems from a rule violation involving members of the CCHS wrestling team not having properly signed weight cards when the cards were checked at the IMC district tournament held in Hermiston Feb. 9-10.
In order for each wrestler to be permitted to partake in the season, all weight cards must be signed before participation begins. If the cards are not signed, those wrestlers must forfeit the matches in which they did not have the valid signatures.
"What happened as far as we can determine is that the weight cards were never signed by the parents," explained Bob Shields, CCHS athletic director. "Eventually, they were all signed by Feb. 6 and at that point everyone was eligible, but until that point, everyone was deemed ineligible."
The incident was discovered by the district wrestling committee in Hermiston, but the CCHS squad wasn't the only team to have weight cards without the proper signatures. According to Shields, several Mtn. View as well as Bend wrestlers were deemed ineligible as well.
The IMC district committee later voted to allow all of the wrestlers found with invalid weight cards to participate in the district meet.
CCHS assistant coaches Rob Bonner and Jason Ebbs will take over coaching duties for Lucas while the 10 Cowboy wrestlers compete at the state tournament.
Shields added that Lucas is allowed to attend the state meet as a spectator.
"His main concern was that the kids were able to wrestle," Shields explained.
The suspension of Lucas may not be the only action taken in regard to the weight card incident. Members of the Oregon School Activities Association will meet May 7 in Wilsonville to discuss the topic further.
"These rule violations will likely bring sanctions from the OSAA Executive Board," Peterson said in the statement. "and we wanted to do everything possible to reserve the right of our students to participate in future OSAA sponsored events."
OSAA sanctions that can be imposed to CCHS include: requiring forfeiture of championships and titles; revocation of the right to participate in future meets and contests; imposition of fines; suspension of rights of membership; expulsion from membership; and suspension of a member school's employee from coaching.
The 2000-2001 wrestling season is the second for Lucas as head coach since he resigned shortly after the 1996-1997 season due to an incident involving one CCHS wrestler weighing in for another Crook County wrestler at the IMC district tournament. After learning of the weigh-in, Lucas reportedly still allowed the CCHS wrestler to compete at the 1997 state meet.
Lucas was later sanctioned by the OSAA and returned at the helm of the Cowboy wrestling program for the 1999-2000 season. Lucas was not able to be reached for comment about the suspension.