A teacher at Edison High School says he gave a football player a failing grade last spring that later was changed to an "A" without his knowledge.
The allegation may have been part of an inquiry by the California Interscholastic Federation, which governs high school athletics in the state. Last week, the CIF cleared the school of alleged eligibility improprieties, although a Fresno Unified School District investigation continues.
Edison mathematics teacher Jeff Powell said he gave the player a final "F" grade because the student was present in the algebra-geometry class for only a "couple weeks" of the 90-day spring semester.
"I know I didn't give that grade," Powell said. "Whoever changed the grade should be punished."
Powell said he learned in August from another teacher that the grade had been changed in June to an "A," a grade the player needed to be eligible to play this season.
Powell said he cannot name the player because of student privacy laws. The Edison football team is 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the Central Section and No. 7 in the state.
Powell said he complained about the grade change to assistant principal Rufus Taylor, who is a nephew of Tigers football coach Tim McDonald.
"He only told me the grade stands as is," Powell said.
Edison principal Rick Lopez declined to comment, deferring to Fresno Unified School District spokeswoman Susan Bedi.
"The district can't reveal confidential or academic records," Bedi said.
McDonald said he monitors the academic progress of all his players, and is confident a grade change didn't occur.
"If I knew there was something done illegally or that was compromising my integrity, this kid's integrity, my program's integrity, I would not be a part of it," McDonald said.
Powell described his concerns Monday in an on-the-record interview. On Tuesday, after The Bee had contacted school officials and Powell had consulted a lawyer provided by the teachers' union, he contended that he had not intended his remarks for publication.
Powell's claims come one week after Edison was cleared of wrongdoing by Jim Crichlow, the commissioner for the CIF Central Section, a 90-school region from Chowchilla to Bakersfield.
Crichlow said he has completed an investigation that hatched from "an incredibly detailed anonymous letter" and was focused on the academic eligibility of two football players -- one current, one former -- and staff. Among the allegations was grade changing.
Powell said he hasn't spoken with Crichlow.
"To clear the school without talking to me is stupid," the teacher said.
Crichlow declined to say why he did not speak with Powell but said he has twice talked with Lopez, the Edison principal. The CIF traditionally defers to school officials on allegations of grading improprieties.
"The grade stands as issued, and that's from the administration," Crichlow said. "We're through with it."
The reporter can be reached at aboogaard @fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6336.