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Inquiry Finds Faults in Artesia Program

Report concludes that boys' basketball coach Pera followed 'letter of the law' but raises issue of enrollment permits, calls for more oversight.

December 18, 2005|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

The final investigative findings into the Artesia High boys' basketball program revealed that coaches and administrators "allow for excessive use of [enrollment] permits by basketball players," according to the report obtained by The Times through the California Public Records Act.

The lead investigator, Bill Agopian, hired by the ABC Unified School District to look into allegations of rule violations, found no proof of undue influence by Coach Scott Pera.

Agopian did find that individual donors have "excessive influence" over all aspects of the program, and that "club/travel ball activity influences Artesia negatively," according to the report.

The report also indicated that an Artesia junior varsity coach told Principal Sergio Garcia that he "had assisted as many as 10 players" to attend Artesia to play basketball, and all had obtained legal permits.

Agopian concluded that Pera had followed "the letter of the law" in all matters but raised concerns about his performance as athletic director in regard to business practices.

"Mr. Pera had a higher obligation and duty in handling of [facility] rental contracts and resultant fees and funds, which he did not exercise," according to the report.

"With Mr. Pera, the duties of athletic director appeared to be secondary to the desire to coach."

Pera was reinstated as coach last month, following the 11-week investigation, but he did not resume his duties as athletic director.

Agopian recommended that the administration should assume greater responsibility for the acceptance of permits, rental policy of facilities, accounting procedures and assignment of coaches.

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