By Logan Smith

(CBS4) — Former assistant boys basketball coach William “Trey” Harris reached a settlement agreement with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) late last month. Harris had filed a racial discrimination lawsuit case against CHSAA following his firing from his Sand Creek High School position in 2017.

The settlement agreement comes five months after the former coach was awarded a $2.5 million judgement by a federal jury in Denver. CHSAA filed an appeal following that decision. The new agreement reached outside of the courtroom nullifies the earlier decision and resolves the case without further dispute.

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The agreement was reached September 23. Its terms were not publicly disclosed.

 

“CHSAA and Mr. Harris have always shared the same goal,” CHSAA wrote in a statement to CBS4, “to create a positive and equitable environment that enriches the lives of student athletes. CHSAA condemns unlawful discrimination in all of its forms. CHSAA will work with Mr. Harris in the future, as it does with all coaches committed to serving high school, education-based programs.”

Harris did not comment after being reached by phone Sunday.

In an undated photo, William ‘Trey’ Harris poses with Zion Williamson, now a player for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. (credit: plutobasketball.com)

According to court documents, Harris was blamed by the team’s head coach and the school’s athletic director for a mid-season roster move that resulted in a forfeiture of a game and the team’s temporary restriction from the state playoffs. An ineligible player participated in a varsity game for the Scorpions, at the time considered a strong contender for a state title.

The school and school district fired Harris in an attempt to satisfy CHSAA’s desire for self-corrective action. CHSAA did in fact lift the playoff restriction after Harris’s firing, but the team’s performance faltered. Players protested Harris’s dismissal during ensuing games and Sand Creek failed to qualify for the state tournament.

(credit: Thinkstock)

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Harris’s lawsuit claimed the head coach and athletic director deflected responsibility for the roster move and told Harris he was being targeted for blame by CHSAA “because he was black” and advised him to contact the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for support.

In addition to CHSAA, the head coach and athletic director, Harris sued the school district, the school district’s human resources director, the district superintendent, and a CHSAA commissioner.

Harris reached a settlement with the most of the defendants within a year. The CHSAA commissioner was eventually dismissed from legal action.

CHSAA, however, fought the judge’s decision in May.

“We do not believe the evidence supports the Jury’s decision,” the organization’s legal team said in a statement after that judgement. “We are currently considering the options available to respond to the decision.”

William ‘Trey’ Harris coaching at his PLUTO Basketball camp. (credit: plutobasketball.com)

Harris, 34, is owner and operator of PLUTO Basketball, a talent development program in Colorado Springs. He is a native of Colorado Springs and played for Mitchell High School. He earned the nickname ‘Trey’ in college where he made 44 percent of his three-point field goal attempts.

 

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Logan Smith