Kentucky Boys' Basketball Champs Under Investigation

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Did illegal recruiting help the Bowling Green High School boys' basketball program win its first Kentucky state championship last season? The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is currently looking into alleged recruiting violations by the school, which won its final 29 games during a 36-2 season, including in a 67-56 victory over Cooper in the title game.

The allegations are part of a lawsuit filed Oct. 2 in Warren Circuit Court by LaVonda Johnson, who was fired Aug. 3 from her position as Bowling Green's girls' basketball coach.

Details of the investigation are unclear. According to USA Today, KHSAA communications director Joe Angolia confirmed Tuesday “there is an ongoing review of the 2016-17 Bowling Green boys' basketball team.” That review is based on information provided by Johnson, who is not speaking about the matter on the advice of her attorney.

D.G. Sherrill, the boys' coach and athletic director at the time of the championship run, resigned in June to take a position within the Bowling Green Independent School District. District superintendent Gary Fields asserts that neither Bowling Green principal William King nor current athletic director Mark Spader have been contacted by the KHSAA regarding the alleged violations.

Following her termination, Johnson, an African-American, filed a lawsuit against the Bowling Green ISD Board of Education, claiming that on March 31, 2016, that she was asked by King to replace her two African-American assistant coaches to "reflect the diversity of the school." “When asked … if he was saying he wanted more white players and white coaches, King responded ‘yes,’ ” according to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, a school memo indicates the termination was based on years of reprimands against Johnson.

Anthony Hickey, who joined the girls' basketball staff after Johnson's staff was terminated, is among those being investigated by the KHSAA over the boys' violations, according to the lawsuit. 

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