Home > General Comments, Sac-Jaoquin Section > Lies, Damned Lies and CIF Statistics

Lies, Damned Lies and CIF Statistics

We all know how important the use of statistics can be to winning an argument or swaying public opinion. We also know politicians have become experts at creating and using statistics on the fly with little worry of backlash given the public’s limited appetite to question or do the research required to validate. Politicians prey on laziness and ignorance.

Apparently, CIF officials know this all to well and have no problem invoking the same strategy when it comes to getting what they want. Especially when that something is winning an appeals case or making CIF and its commissioners look good in the eyes of peers, the press, CIF members, parents, the public and, most importantly, the legal system.

In a recent article, State CIF Appeals Coordinator, Bob Wallace told the Auburn Journal, “…the CIF hears more than 100 appeals challenging section rulings statewide each year, on average. Nearly 60 percent favor the athlete appealing…” That does sound awfully good – six of ten athletes appealing a CIF decision win upon appeal. That kind of number makes it look like CIF is actually listening to appellants and upon hearing “evidence” contrary to CIF findings, overturning its original decision. On the flipside, it makes the 40% of denied appeals seem to be really bad since CIF is, after all, so accommodating when it comes to appeals.

Mother always said, “If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true.” That’s right everyone, what Bob Wallace said was factually incorrect. Not true. Flat our wrong.

According to a CIF Economic Viability Report submitted to the State Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in January of 2010, CIF eligibility decisions were overturned on appeal less than 40% of the time. The facts show CIF decisions were overturned only 30.4% and 36.8% of the time during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years respectively. For those interested in how their section fared, the document breaks out appeals hearing results by CIF section.

Seems like the headline for this story and my mother were right.

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