Webber violated amateur status

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. -- Chris Webber's high school refused
Monday to forfeit three state championship basketball titles he
helped win, a day after the Michigan High School Athletic
Association ruled he should not have been allowed to play because
of his relationship with a former Michigan booster.

The Sacramento Kings star violated his amateur standing and was
ineligible during the time he played at Detroit Country Day, the
governing body said Sunday. The association had left it up to the
school to decide whether to forfeit games in which Webber played,
including three state championships.

Country Day Headmaster Gerald Hansen said there was no
trustworthy basis to support the MHSAA's claim that Webber was

"The assertion is based upon unproven innuendo, suspicion and
speculation," said Hansen, reading from a prepared statement.
"Because Country Day has been given no credible evidence that Mr.
Webber violated his amateur status while a student here, the school
felt obligated to fight to retain the championships and to protect
the school's interests."

The association's executive director, Jack Roberts, urged the
school to forfeit the championships it won from 1989-91 with Webber
and recommended the executive committee strike the team and
Webber's performance from its basketball records. However, the
executive committee decided only to delete the references to

"I suggested to them that they voluntarily forfeit," Roberts
said Monday. "That would be the most appropriate."

Roberts said he wasn't surprised by the school's refusal to
forfeit the titles.

"We were disappointed, of course," Roberts said of the news
conference. "We were most disappointed in the tone."

Ed Martin, who died last year, said he gave Webber and his
family $280,000 from 1988-93, a period extending from Webber's
freshman year of high school through his sophomore season at
Michigan. Webber left for the NBA after helping the Wolverines
reach the NCAA title game in both his college seasons.

Webber was sentenced to community service last summer after
pleading guilty to criminal contempt for lying to a grand jury
about his dealings with Martin.

Webber is expected to return to the Kings' lineup for the first
time this season Tuesday. He has been out with a knee injury most
of the season and missed the last eight games while on a
suspension, which included three games for his guilty plea.

A message left with Webber's agent Monday was not immediately

Country Day disagreed with the MHSAA that Webber's amateur
standing was violated, and association officials said there was no
evidence that Country Day officials were aware of the violations at
the time they occurred.

Webber was third in the state in career scoring with 2,628
points, first in games played with 107, tied for first for free
throws in championship play with 14-for-16 shooting, and second in
rebounds in a championship game with 22.

Martin said he gave $616,000 in illicit benefits to Webber,
Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock -- who all starred
at Michigan.

The MHSAA found that Webber and Traylor violated amateur status
rules. Officials from Detroit Murray-Wright, where Traylor played
high school basketball, voluntarily forfeited every game won during
Traylor's senior season. Murray-Wright won the Class A state
championship in 1994, Traylor's junior year, but no link to Martin
was found until his senior year.

Michigan imposed sanctions on itself because of the scandal,
including a one-year postseason ban, and forfeited 112
regular-season and tournament victories from five seasons. Michigan
also removed four banners from Crisler Arena: for the 1992 and 1993
Final Fours, 1997 NIT title and 1998 Big Ten tournament title.