ASAA upholds suspension for former Chugiak coach

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 15:18
  • Former Chugiak High boys basketball coach gestures to the crowd during a teacher appreciation event between the girls and boys basketball games at Chugiak High School on Feb. 15, 2019. On Feb. 18, the Alaska School Activities Association denied Sconiers’ appeal of his one-year coaching suspension handed down in December for a recruiting violation. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

The Alaska School Activities Association Appeals Board has denied the appeal of a former Chugiak High basketball coach suspended in December one year for a recruiting violation.

On Feb. 18, the board voted unanimously to uphold the suspension handed down by ASAA executive director Billy Strickland after it was revealed Jocquis Sconiers had improper summertime contact with a player who later transferred to Chugiak. The player — Robert Sheldon — was initially ruled ineligible but had his eligibility quickly reinstated following the coach’s suspension.

Sheldon transferred to Chugiak in the fall from Noatak, but played for Sconiers’ AAU team TruGame Select during a tournament in Las Vegas — a violation of ASAA recruiting rules. The violation resulted in a one-year suspension for Sconiers as well as the forfeiture of Chugiak’s season-opening win over Tikigaq and a $250 fine against the school.

Sconiers initially denied he’d coached Sheldon during the summer when the possible infraction was brought to light this fall by Eagle River High coaches and parents. Instead, he told Strickland, Chugiak High administrators and the media that another man — who he identified as Jules Ferguson — actually coached TruGame in Las Vegas.

When contacted by the Star Ferguson said he was indeed the man seen coaching the team in an online video of the tournament. But he later called back to say Sconiers had asked him to lie in order to avoid the recruiting violation. Sconiers was fired the day after a news story ran detailing the recruiting violation and subsequent cover-up attempt.

Sconiers remains employed at Chugiak, where he works as a special education teaching assistant. On Feb. 15, he was honored alongside more than a dozen other Chugiak teachers and staff during a teacher appreciation night event held between the girls and boys basketball games at the school.

Strickland said Sconiers will be eligible to resume coaching Dec. 20. Chugiak High principal Megan Hatswell did not reply to an email and phone call seeking comment for this story. Sconiers declined to comment on the record and referred questions to his attorney.

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