The Casteel girls basketball program has forfeited its opening round matchup in the 5A Conference tournament after the school self-reported a violation to the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
According to a letter from Casteel Principal Jayson Phillips to families involved with the girls basketball program, an anonymous email was sent to the AIA and Chandler Unified School District Officials Saturday alleging Colts’ coach Daniel Trageser violated the AIA’s prior contact rule. The rule, which involves athletes transferring into programs where coaches they play for in club or train with outside of school, was said to be violated while Trageser was involved with a local club basketball team.
Phillips said he, along with district athletic officials and the AIA, investigated Trageser’s involvement with the club over the course of the last five days and felt his association violated the AIA’s rules.
“Although Coach Trageser did not coach any student athletes during this time frame, upon consultation with the AIA, Coach Trageser’s affiliation with this club violated the associations prior contact rule,” Phillips wrote in the letter to families.
The timeline during which the violation occurred was from March 7 to March 15, 2020, when club basketball tryouts were held during the initial COVID-19 shut down. At the time, Trageser was appointed the role of executive director and worked behind the scenes on arranging travel and facilities, according to the letter.
While Trageser did not directly coach any of the athletes on the club team, according to the letter, the school found he was still in violation of the the AIA’s rule due to his involvement as a supervisor. Phillips did not identify the player or players involved with the club team in question who transferred into the Casteel program.
Below is the AIA bylaw on prior contact:
18.104.22.168 PRIOR CONTACT – Prefatory statement: In an effort to preserve and promote competitive fairness and equity, and consistent with the AIA’s mission to ensure that academics remain the primary focus of its member schools, the Prior Contact rule is an effort to deter recruiting of student-athletes and minimize athletically motivated transfers. However, the rule applies regardless of whether there is any evidence of athletic motivation or recruitment. Despite compliance with the other provisions of AIA Bylaws, a student who transfers from one school (sending school) to another school (receiving school) is ineligible in the sport involved for one year from the date of attendance at the receiving school, if any of the following circumstances existed during the one year preceding the transfer:
• The student participated as an individual, on a school team, or on a non-school team coached, directed, supervised, managed, coordinated, owned or operated by any of the receiving school’s coaches (in the sport involved), administrators or parents.
• The student participated at an open gym, open weight room, or open athletic facilities at the receiving school. For this circumstance, the sport involved is deemed to be any interscholastic sport in which the student has participated during the current or previous school year.
• A coach at the receiving school has served as a personal trainer, coach, conditioner or instructor for the student. For this circumstance, the sport involved is deemed to be any interscholastic sport in which the student has participated during the current or previous school year.
• The student participated in a camp, clinic, combine, showcase or similar event where a coach, trainer, or instructor in the sport involved at the receiving school worked, whether on a paid or volunteer basis.
“Coach Trageser and I can not emphasize enough how disappointed we are in the results of this investigation,” Phillips wrote in the letter. “Our athletes have worked tremendously hard both on and off the court, and their efforts were being rewarded and recognized. I am very proud of the team, and of the Women’s Basketball program in general.”
Casteel finished the regular season 16-0, winning the 5A San Tan Region title and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the 5A Conference tournament. The Colts beat Paradise Valley in the opening round of the tournament on Tuesday but have since forfeited the matchup.
As a result, Paradise Valley, the 16-seed, will move on to face Gilbert Friday night.