DETROIT -- Chris Webber was ineligible when he played basketball in high school because of his relationship with a former University of Michigan basketball booster, which violated his amateur standing, the state's governing body for high school athletics has ruled.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association's executive committee said Sunday that Webber was ineligible during the time he played at Birmingham Detroit Country Day. But it left it up to the school to decide whether to forfeit games in which Webber played, including three state championship titles.
The association's executive director has urged the school to forfeit the championships it won with Webber.
"I think they should do it [forfeit the titles]," Jack Roberts, executive director of the MHSSA, told the Detroit Free Press. "I've said it at the first, second and third meetings with them that they should voluntarily forfeit the contests and return the team championships and get it over."
A message seeking comment from Roberts was left Monday.
Martin, who died last year at the age of 69, said he gave Webber and his family $280,000 from 1988-93, a period extending from his 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 of his college seasons.
Webber, who plays for the Sacramento Kings, 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 was suspended without pay for eight games by the NBA on Feb. 17 for violating its drug policy and for pleading guilty to lying to a grand jury. He is eligible to return to the Kings lineup Tuesday vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.
A message seeking comment from Webber's agent was left Monday.
Country Day officials, who appeared before the executive committee Wednesday, disagreed with the MHSAA that Webber's amateur standing was violated. A spokesman for the Oakland County school said Monday that the school was studying the situation and reserving comment, possibly until a news conference later Monday or Tuesday.
Martin gave $616,000 in illicit benefits to Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock -- who all starred at Michigan. Based on investigations by the government, the NCAA, University of Michigan, the Big Ten Conference and others, 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.
The MHSAA could force Country Day to forfeit its titles, but Roberts said he believes the executive committee stopped short of that because the violations occurred so long ago and because no school would be awarded state championships in Country Day's place. In such a case, the championship would be vacated.
At Wednesday's meeting, Country Day headmaster Gerald Hansen accused Roberts of not acting honorably and attempting to coerce the school to forfeit the games and championships.
Martin's involvement was uncovered after five Michigan players and a recruit were involved in rollover accident in 1996. NCAA officials questioned how a college athlete could afford a new sport utility vehicle. Eventually, the investigation led to Martin, a retired electrician who ran an illegal lottery in Detroit-area auto plants.
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, plus its victory in the 1992 NCAA semifinal.
In May, the NCAA infractions committee announced that it would ban Michigan from another year of postseason play. But the Wolverines later won an appeal of the NCAA ban, making them eligible for postseason play in 2004.