Home > General Comments, Sanctioned Schools, Southern Section > And the moral of the story is…

And the moral of the story is…

Let’s start with the end.

“If we start interpreting every single rule, we would be so bogged down,” [CIF] Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said. “It would bring this organization to a standstill.” (story)

No one wants to be bogged down or at a standstill, right? In my opinion, the potential standstill or bog-down aren’t the real issue though. It’s really about the potential increased cost of having someone interpret the rules and apply them based on the circumstances. CIF believes it costs more to be reasonable. Lord knows our real judicial system relies on interpretation and gives plenty of consideration to circumstance. So why can’t CIF?

Bogged down? More expensive? Sounds plausible, but let’s think it through for a second. If reasonably-minded adults evaluated CIF decisions without its Bylaws, I bet their “performance” would be better than CIFs and it would cost a whole lot less to defend challenged decisions. As a matter of point, CIF spends more than $1.1 million each year on legal fees (document). The majority, more than $800,000, apparently is straight-up legal fees associated with defending itself at appeals hearings and in court challenges.

Here are a couple of real-life scenarios to consider – First, in 2005, “A high school relay team, among the fastest in California, is disqualified from a championship race because one of the runners is wearing different-colored underpants.” (Story) Second, “A baseball team wins its first-round playoff game, 4-0, then must forfeit because its coach, who had been suspended for a game, is seen watching — but not coaching — from down the street.” (Story)

Yes, this sounds ridiculous but in both cases CIF rules were upheld. In the case of the baseball coach, he should have probably watched the game at home via streaming video or at least from two or more blocks away. And I’m sure track fans were aghast at the sight of three chaps wearing one color underpants and their amigo wearing another.

Could CIF think for a second and be fair and reasonable here? Heck no! No one wants to get bogged down, you know. I don’t even need to go further here to have proven my point and won my bet. Any reasonably-minded adult would have clearly looked beyond these “infractions”. Especially when considering what was at stake.

Sadly, stories like this abound in California. Ask around and I’m sure you’ll quickly find someone who can tell you a story of the rigidity demonstrated by CIF in applying its rules – Rigidity that flies in the face of common sense and fairness as we know it.

 In a sorry attempt to clarify CIF’s position in regards to the relay and baseball teams, Jim Staunton, then commissioner of CIF Southern Section had this to say, “It can even appear to be a minor or a small point, but … our obligation is to uphold [CIF rules] as much as, maybe personally, we may not like to. Otherwise, there are no rules.”

Hey Jim, I hope when you and others at CIF wind up in a court of law looking for leniency, the judge looks you square in the eye and says, “No interpretation here folks. We can’t afford to get bogged down.”

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