AURORA | A self-reported violation to the Colorado High School Activities Association resulted in a variety of sanctions for a pair of Eaglecrest High School administrators that came out Tuesday, including the principal being placed on leave.
Longtime Principal Gwen Hansen-Vigil and Athletic Director Vince Orlando were put on paid administrative leave this week, according to a letter sent out to parents at the school by Dr. Scott Siegfried, Cherry Creek School District Superintendent.
The violation involved the use of an ineligible player in two 2017 varsity football games (a 42-7 win over Bear Creek and 40-7 win over Rocky Mountain) as well as two junior varsity games during a year in which Eaglecrest finished 13-1 and went to the Class 5A state championship game. Siegfried’s letter said that Hansen-Vigil and Orlando were both made aware at the time that the player was ineligible, but “chose not to take action.”
“The Cherry Creek School District takes this matter and all potential violations of CHSAA rules and regulations very seriously,” Siegfried’s statement read. “We are committed to fairness and transparency in all of our programming, including sports and activities. I want to thank CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green for her partnership and CHSAA’s continued support of our students.”
CCSD Communications Director Abbe Smith said the district could not provide any more details at the moment, other than to say that a group of assistant principals were overseeing the operations of the school with support from the district while a deeper investigation takes place.
“We are still in the midst of conducting an internal investigation into this matter, so I cannot release details at this time,” Smith told The Sentinel.
A report on CHSAANow.com said the steep sanctions that were imposed came in order to “stress the importance of educationally-based athletics.”
The program vacates the victories over Bear Creek and Rocky Mountain, which would drop its regular season record to 8-2. Because that still would have been enough to qualify the Raptors for the 5A postseason (in which they made it to the state final before falling to Pomona in a shootout at Broncos Stadium at Mile High), no other penalty was imposed. However Blanford-Green’s letter to the district — excerpts of which were posted on CHSAANow.com — said the “CHSAA staff reserves the right to apply rulings that could affect any 2017 postseason honors earned by the football program” in the event any other violations come out.
Hansen-Vigil — who has been a fixture at the school for going on three decades as a coach and administrator — is not permitted to oversee any CHSAA-related athletics or activities for one year, while Orlando is on probation for a year and is not allowed to be part of any CHSAA-related boards or seeding committees.
Per CHSAA’s actions, Mike Schmitt — who stepped down from the head job after eight seasons to move to Pennsylvania shortly after the state championship game — also was placed on restriction and is not allowed to be involved with CHSAA events.
CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann said that currently the situation does not involve this season’s football team, which is currently 7-0 going into its biggest game of the season as also undefeated Cherry Creek arrives at Legacy Stadium for a 7 p.m. Metro East contest Friday night.
The football team has remained unbeaten despite the resignation of head coach Dustin Delaney just one game into the season. He has been replaced by Garrett Looney, a dean of students at the school.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports