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Webber's HS: No to forfeits

School refuses to give up 3 state titles that the NBA star helped win.

Wire services
Published March 2, 2004

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. - Chris Webber's high school refused Monday to forfeit three state championship 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 standout for the NBA's Sacramento Kings 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 ineligible.

"The assertion is based upon unproven innuendo, suspicion and speculation," said Hansen, reading from a prepared statement.

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 records. The executive committee decided, however, only to delete the references to Webber.

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

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 tonight. He has been out with a knee injury most of the season and missed the past 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 returned.

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, voluntarily forfeited every game won during Traylor's senior season.

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