The "verdict" is in, Franklin not quilty

The Franklin Quakers were and still are the 2003 Class 4A state champions. A week after the KingCo 4A recommended that Franklin's title be stripped due to alleged use of two ineligible players the appeals panel made their decision Wednesday.

The appeals board, composed of five league principals, who were not involved in the initial ruling, dismissed all charges against both the program and Quaker head coach Jason Kerr. The initial finding had suspended Kerr for two games and additionally placed him on probation for two years. The league had also barred Franklin from profit sharing for two years.

Kerr, through his attorney Sim Osborn, was finally allowed to speak in his own, as well as the program's, defense Tuesday. A mere 24 hours later the appeals board made their decision.

The KingCo panel that recommended the sanctions cited a previous probation handed down to Kerr for his team's improper display of a sponsor's logo on their uniforms in recommending a two-year probation. That case involved Franklin wearing t-shirts they had received for participating in a multi-game event where all teams were given the t-shirts with a large adidas logo on the back. Adidas was one of the sponsors of the event. The Quakers elected to wear the t-shirts instead of their normal warm-up tops during the event. For that violation Kerr was given a one-year probation period.

The latest case alleged that Franklin had used two players who did not meet Seattle School District academic eligibility requirements. The appeals board determined that there was no evidence to substantiate the charges in reaching their decision.

In the end a room containing two of my most feared creatures, attorneys and educational administrators, reached the right decision. I generally consider the two much like I consider a Midwest tornado; something is bound to happen that's just gonna be flat out bad for somebody and you hope like hell it's not you. This time the "twister" just touched down for a short while and tore up a little wheat. But I still fear the two as I still fear that danged tornado.

I respect the heck out of Coach Kerr and feared for him during this whole mess much like I would fear for a bubba on his combine in the wheat field when the twister touches down.

Those who took their shots at Kerr know nothing of the effort he puts forth to make his kids not only better players but also, and more importantly, better citizens. His team's conduct both on and off the floor is one of respect for themselves and their opponents. Shame on those who jumped to conclusions and took their cheap shots.

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