CIF: Foreign Students Will Continue to Play Varsity Sports in California

May 7, 2010 5 comments

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has voted down a proposed change to CIF Bylaw 209. As presented, the rule change would have prevented foreign and exchange students from participating in sports at the varsity level in any sport participated in during the year prior to arriving at a CIF school.

Prior Story: Foreign Students Sent to The Stands by proposed CIF Rule Change

Advertisements

CIF Votes to Postpone Final Decision on Rule 600 Change (Outside Competition – Soccer)

May 7, 2010 11 comments

According to good sources, the CIF has voted to indefinitely postpone making a final decision regarding a proposed change to Bylaw 600. As proposed, the rule change would seriously impact club and high school soccer in Northern California.

Click here for background story

Foreign Students Sent to The Stands by proposed CIF Rule Change

April 15, 2010 6 comments

Revision of CIF Bylaw 209 (Foreign Student Eligibility)
 would limit eligibility of all students attending a member school on an approved exchange program and all foreign transfer students. Students granted limited eligibility would be limited for one year (from the date of transfer) to non-varsity competition in the CIF sports they participated in during the previous 12 calendar months but may participate in varsity competition in all other CIF sports.

(April 15, 2010) The California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) proposed change to Bylaw 209 (Click here to read CIF document in full) effectively eliminates foreign students’ ability to participate in sports at the varsity level in any sports the student participated in during the twelve months preceding enrollment. The CIF plans to vote on this proposal at its May 7-8 Spring meeting in Sacramento at the Embassy Suites. (Note: see end of story for “How you can help stop this” information)

CIF believes recent violations of recruiting rules by a few exchange programs requires action – drastic action – to be taken to keep things right.

“It has been extremely apparent the last few years that more and more students are not being randomly placed in approved foreign exchange programs.  Rather, through various means the foreign student is asking to be placed at a specific school [for] athletically motivated reasons. Four (4) foreign exchange programs have been placed on probation for this year for violating CIF 510.” (Click here to read CIF document in full)

The proposed change addresses CIF concerns by allowing exchange and foreign students varsity participation only in sports they had not participated in, at any level, during the past twelve months:

“Foreign Exchange students transferring under the auspices of a CIF-approved foreign exchange program from a school located outside the United States, a U.S. Military Base, a U.S. Territory or Canada to a CIF member school may be granted residential eligibility for all CIF athletic competition EXCEPT varsity level competition in sports in which the student has competed at any level of play for a school or club during the 12 calendar months preceding the date of transfer to the CIF member school. (Click here to read CIF document in full)

Simply put, no matter the level of participation during the preceding twelve months, an exchange or foreign student would not be given varsity status. JV to varsity? No. Freshman to varsity? No. Club to varsity? No.

While seemingly sensible given the proposed rules’ congruence with similar eligibility and transfer rules for US students, the rule change when understood in context of US Immigration rules around foreign and exchange students, winds up creating a situation where these students won’t be able to participate in varsity sports.

Here’s why.

First, foreign exchange programs limit student’s attendance at US High Schools to a maximum of one academic year. Once a student’s exchange year is completed, the student is required by US immigration law to return to their home country for two years before returning to the United States. (Click here to read US Immigration Laws related to exchange students)

Second, foreign students attending high school in the US on an F-1 Visa are limited by law to one year of public high school attendance. There is no limit placed on these students’ attendance at private schools. (Click here to read US Immigration Laws related to foreign students)

Given US law limits foreign exchange and foreign students attendance at public schools to one year, no foreign exchange or foreign student attending a public high school would be able to participate in a varsity sport after the limited eligibility period expired since they’d no longer attend the school or would have returned to their country of origin.

The only possibility for foreign students to play varsity sports would be through attendance at a private school since US law does not restrict the length of foreign students attendance at private schools. Here a student would have to wait one year before playing a varsity sport but the student would still be around since the one-year rule only applies to public schools.

The short here is an exchange or foreign student attending a public high school will not be able to participate in his or her “sport of record”. That’s the price they’d pay for electing to participate in an exchange program or attend high school in the US. That’s also the price they’d pay for historical recruiting rules violations done by a few schools.

Our view is this is the classic case of “kick the dog”. The real culprits are not the students. The real culprits are the exchange programs and coaches who deliberately “work the system” to get star players into varsity programs.

A better solution to enact would be to seriously penalize exchange programs, schools and coaches found to be violating CIF rules. “Probation” for violations isn’t enough. It’s a slap on the wrist that causes no pain to a program, school or coaching staff. It just means they’ll work harder to not get caught the next time.

Why not impose sanctions that matters? Something with teeth in it like forfeited games for first time violations. That would put violators on notice and certainly decrease the number of attempts to “work the system.”

Penalizing students is not the right way to handle this problem. There are more students following the rules than not. Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

If you’re reading this CIF, go after the violators not the students.

How can you help?

If you’d like to voice your displeasure with the proposed change to CIF Bylaw 209, contact CIF Executive Director, Marie Ishida via email at ishidasan@cifstate.org or call her at (916) 239.4477.  You can find CIF section commissioner contact information at http://cifstate.org/about/sections/index.html.

Rumor Mill: Is Rocklin High School basketball coach Steve Taylor resigning?

April 8, 2010 12 comments

News Story (4/11/2010): The Sacramento BeeRocklin Coach Steps Down, cites relentless Pace
(Note: End of Sac Bee story mentions reason for Rocklin being placed on probation by CIF)

Rumor: I’ve now heard the entire coaching staff (varsity, JV and freshman) resigned, not just Taylor. Can anyone validate this? If true, what was the reason given?

News Story (4/9/2010)Auburn JournalRocklin’s Taylor resigns as basketball coach

UPDATE (4/9/2010): Word coming in now is Steve Taylor has resigned as coach for Rocklin varsity boys basketball. More to come as information rolls my way.

(4/9/2010) Recent activity on this web site suggests something might be in the works regarding Steve Taylor’s tenure as Rocklin High School’s varsity boys basketball coach.

Was it something a note someone slipped my way on a napkin? An anonymous email or post? Neither. It was something found in this site’s readership reports. Specifically site search terms and pages read.

Over the past week a couple of things have caught my eye.

First, when some arrives on this site as a result of a Yahoo, Bing or Google search, the search terms used to get here are captured and displayed to me as the site administrator. During the past week, I noted quite a few people arrived at the site using search terms containing one or more of the following words or strings:

– Steve Taylor
– Rocklin
– Resigned
– Rockin High School
– CIF sanctions
– recruiting violations

Second, the first story I ever published on this site, Rocklin and Roseville High School recruiting violations, has recently seen a resurgence in activity. The original story was posted on March 2, 2010. One would expect readership of the story to decrease over time, which it had. That was until last week when traffic began to climb again.

Now, I am not in the know as to whether Steve Taylor is going to resign, but if I were a betting man…

In the end, the truth will come out. I may be wrong in my analysis, I may be right. Either way, the data analysis certainly is interesting… even as a conversation piece.

Club soccer programs get kicked in the rear by CIF

April 5, 2010 2 comments

Rules changes and the impact on local high school soccer (Roseville Press Tribune – 4/13/2010)
CIF to vote on rule change that could affect soccer (Anderson Valley Post – 4/13/2010)
Kicked Out by the CIF? (Auburn Journal – 4/11/2010)

(April 5, 2010) California’s club soccer programs – specifically girls and boys U14, U15, U16, U17 and U18 teams – are about to get kicked to the curb by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). It seems CIF has had it with players doing double duty on high school and club teams during soccer season. They want to end this practice and force kids into playing for their high school teams only during soccer season.

Player double-duty is not a new problem. Club soccer and high school soccer seasons happen at the same time and CIF has historically allowed players to “double up.” Whether it’s fall for the boys or spring for the girls, there’s alway something going on as far as Club teams are concerned. Maybe not so much in the spring for girls high school, but the fall… well, we all know the mayhem.

The Bylaw change, if approved, will have an enormous effect on California’s club soccer programs. Most would argue it may not be that bad for club soccer since when given a choice between high school and club soccer, the sane player would likely choose club given these programs are for the most part better than high school. However, the reality is dilution to club program will be the likely result with some players choosing club and others high school. The end result will be damaged Club programs since they rely on player fees not taxes to survive.

A damaged club program is not good for US soccer in general or competition. Like it or not, these programs, not high school soccer, are where most US soccer stars are trained and groomed for the big stage.

So, here’s the skinny on what going to be voted on by CIF on May 7th and what you can do to protest. The below was taken directly from CIF documents:

Revision of CIF Bylaw 600 (Outside Competition-soccer)

This revision would mandate that students could not compete on an outside team in the sport of soccer while competing for their high school team, regardless of the season in which soccer is played. Currently, our students can compete on outside teams because we play during the fall (boys) and the spring (girls).

CIF State description on why Bylaw change is needed – Click here to read CIF document
CIF State Bylaw 600 revision – Click here to see actual Bylaw changes

CIFWatchdog Comment: This may cause serious damage to club soccer in the state of California since both high school and club have co-existed for quite some time. Club soccer is no small entity and, in fact, considered to be of higher quality than most high school programs. Many players feed into ODP and State programs from club programs.

This change effectively forces players to choose between club and high school programs. Not a good choice. I am not sure which program will suffer more, but either way, both programs lose.

If you believe this is change for the worse, I urge you to contact your CIF Section Commissioner (Click here for phone an email contact information) to voice your concerns. If you’d like to contact CIF State, direct your communication to its president, Marie Ishida at ishidasan@cifstate.org or 916-239-4477.

The more people knowing about this and complaining the better the chance of derailing it – Please send this link to your friends –  https://cifwatchdog.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/club-soccer-gets-kicked-in-the-rear-by-cif/

UPDATE: Barry Makes Local Basketball Debut

March 17, 2010 2 comments

Youth Basketball Academy (YBA) Dawgs varsity team opens AAU season at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin

By Christian Hendricks, chendricks@cifwatchdog.com

Remi Barry Recruiting WebsiteClick here

Credit: Christian Hendricks

LOOMIS, California – Remi Barry, the French national transfer student denied eligibility to play high school basketball by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), will finally hit the floor Saturday when the YBA Dawgs open up the Spring AAU competitive basketball season at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. The 6’7” Del Oro High School transfer student will play alongside a lineup of Sierra Foothills League (SFL) star players from Nevada Union, Rocklin, Granite Bay and Del Oro. Also included on the roster is 6’9” Yuba City star Zack Nelson. Other key players from Colfax and Vista Del Lago are likely to join the squad.

Barry hasn’t played in a high school game since February of 2009, but worked out with the Golden Eagles all season. “I’m really excited about playing this weekend,” Barry said, “I really would have liked to play high school basketball this year, but AAU is a good substitute since I’ll be playing with and against the area’s and nation’s best players.”

Barry did not suit up for the Golden Eagles this season after the CIF ruled his transfer violated its bylaws. Barry’s appeal of the CIF ruling was denied by a CIF appeals-panel in January. Barry and his lawyer then filed for a Stay in Placer Superior Court that would have allowed him to play prior to a court hearing on the merit of the CIF’s initial denial. The plea for a Stay was unsuccessful and Barry was resigned to cheering for his teammates from the bench for the remainder of the SFL season and post-season play.

Coached by Millard “Doc” Haynes, the YBA Dawgs varsity-level travel team is expected to fair well locally and at NCAA-sanctioned tournaments in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “Last year, we put a lot of top-tier teams on notice at sanctioned events, “said Coach Haynes, “This year we expect to do even better. We expect to win.”

Founded in 2004, YBA basketball teaches local youth basketball players the fundamentals of the game in a competitive environment and provides older players with the opportunity to be seen by college coaches and potentially secure scholarships.

Barry is still a highly recruited D1 college prospect despite missing his senior year.  “We’re confident YBA will provide Remi and our other seniors with greater exposure to college recruiters and coaches,” said YBA Program Director Ken Gee, “These are talented kids who will likely be scholarship players in college next fall.” During the past seasons, several YBA players secured playing commitments and scholarships to Harvard, St. Michael’s, St. Mary’s and UC Davis among other schools.

Saturday’s tip-off is at 3:30PM on Court 2 at Hardwood Palace. YBA matches up against Carson Valley AAU out of Minden, Nevada. Hardwood Palace is located at 1091 Tinker Road in Rocklin. For more information call (916) 543-4433.

Related links:

Youth Basketball Academy – http://www.ybdawgs.com
YBA Dawgs Varsity – http://www.ybadawgs.com/P.aspx?PageId=58426
Hardwood Palace – http://www.hardwoodpalace.com/
Tournament Schedule – http://xtremehoops.us/schedule/current.pdf

The CIF’s Kangaroo Appeals Court: Where Fair is Not Fair When it Comes to Eligibility.

March 10, 2010 12 comments

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) trades on the premise of being fair when it comes to evaluating student-athletes’ appeals of eligibility decisions. However, a detailed review of its own rules reveals its appeals processes to be nothing close to fair. In fact, it looks more like a fraternity or “old boy” club giving itself the flexibility to dispense with fairness in arbitrary and capricious ways while taking care of its family, friends and “fraternity brothers”.

According to CIF rules, a student has the right to appeal a decision made by CIF regarding eligibility at an appeals hearing set by CIF. As detailed in Parent Handbook II: Understanding the Transfer Eligibility Appeal Process, appeal hearings are held before an impartial review officer or impartial panel of three persons.

A cursory review of the rules and words used to describe said hearing would lead most reasonable people to believe the process to be no different than a traditional court of law. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

According the Parent Handbook:

“Appeals Panel members or Review Officers may be current or retired school district administrators or athletic directors, retired or current athletic administrators or retired Section officers. No Appeals Panel member may be employed by, or retired from, the schools, school districts, leagues or conferences involved in your appeal. The State Appeals Office sets the Appeals Panel.”

So, in the case of a CIF appeal hearing, it’s truly not possible for panel members to be impartial (definition) since the all have current or previous ties to CIF, be it directly or indirectly. A recent Auburn Journal story by Eric Gourley offers good insight into the appeals panel selection process.

Given panel members’ ties to CIF, it’s not unfair to conclude each would naturally have a predisposition to find in favor of and protect CIF. Even if panel members didn’t, the mere perception of partiality should cause one pause. It’s akin to having a fraternity brother or cousin on the jury at your own trial. No lawyer would allow such a thing to happen. It wouldn’t be fair. What CIF has is not impartial. It’s a process slanted in favor of CIF.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Add non-related individuals to the appeals panel. CIF would no doubt fight this, arguing non-related individuals wouldn’t be familiar with CIF Bylaws. While this perspective sounds reasonable, it’s a ruse. The assumption that CIF-related panel members understand the rules is simply wrong. The appeals panel I am familiar with wasn’t as familiar with the rules as one would hope and believe, especially with so much at stake. Sadly, nor was the CIF lawyer. Regardless, we’re not talking about rocket science here. It wouldn’t take too long for an “outsider” to bone up on CIF Bylaws and listen to a student-athlete’s case before making a decision.

So, what’s CIF afraid of here? Probably what it professes to seek, fairness. Introducing outsiders to the appeals process and panel instantly introduces transparency and fairness while, at the same time, eliminating cronyism and favoritism, perceived or real. We all know the stories. School A violates rules and CIF looks the others way. School B violates rules and the book gets thrown at them. CIF answer to this is, all cases are different. Alright then, if this isn’t the case, CIF should be willing to prove it by releasing facts around cases instead of hiding behind statements like, “It’s not CIF practice to release information…”

The use of the word “hearing” by CIF should also make one shudder. Clearly, CIF wants people to believe its “hearing” process is similar to that of a true court of law. You know, the one with due process and rules of evidence. Unfortunately, CIF’s “hearing” is not even a distant cousin of how you probably think a hearing is conducted. CIF’s Parent Handbook is clear about its appeal hearing procedures, “The technical rules of evidence and rules for the examination of witnesses do not apply.”

So, let’s break this down. The simplest summary is, California Rules of Evidence are NOT followed and, as such, hearsay evidence and innuendo are fully admissible and given standing. What’s that mean? It means CIF doesn’t have to prove its case with facts. A statement made by a third-party to the effect of, “I heard so and so say…” can lead to the denial of eligibility for a student athlete. Period. It’s truly an anything goes situation. The infamous, “he said, she said,” we all try to avoid is in full play.

Evidence as presented by CIF need be nothing more than innuendo and hearsay. Regardless of fact-based submissions in defense of the student athlete, ALL submissions are tragically treated equally and evaluated by an “impartial” (see above) appeals panel. Would you favor your fraternity brother or a stranger in a “he said, she said” argument?

CIF has in effect created a Kangaroo Court.

As I’ve said in previous posts, most people are too lazy to research and truly understand CIF Bylaws and rules.  Instead people take what’s implied in CIF statements at face value. The Kangaroo Court used for eligibility appeal hearings is a far cry from a true court of law. In the case of student athletes, it merely a tool for CIF to fool the public into believing there’s an appeals process, appeals panel and appeals hearing that’s fair and follows due process like our true court of law.

In the end it’s a way for CIF to continue its unfair and biased way of dispensing its version of fair while keeping the public at bay. This is indeed a sad situation for schools and student-athletes and is likely the underpinning of CIFs image problem with the public.

The fix is easy. CIF needs to establish a true appeals process for student-athletes. This is not too big an “ask” as far as I can tell.

So, what are you waiting for CIF?