Welcome to CIF Watchdog! Thank you for visiting.

This site has been created in response to a long fought (and still going) battle undertaken this fall with the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Sac-Jaoquin section. I’d been told early on in the process by people who had run-ins with CIF that the transfer eligibility we sought would be rejected, yet still believed the CIF eligibility process would be fair and quick.

Months later, after being subject to an incredibly unfair and biased process and learning of scores of others around the state being treated the same, I am compelled to seek change at CIF. Not change at the individual level. Not change at the local level. But change at the state level.

CIF needs oversight and transparency in its operation. It doesn’t have it now, but I seek to lead an effort that will bring about change and restore respect to the organization an organization that, truth be told, has little when it comes to the way it conducts business.

Christian A. Hendricks

  1. Fred Jackmovich
    February 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I have attached a rule that allows full eligibility when transferring but C.I.F. wont allow me to use it. I have talked to the California board of education and they have not put out this list since 2013 and the Superintendent of the school system says they do not use API anymore. Since they don’t use or publish the list anymore and my son transferred because school A does not have an I.B. program and school B does the transfer should be allowed cause at the time of transfer school B also had a higher API. They say the by law should not be there but this section was revised in 2018 by the federation committee. This is how they operate and will not allow my son to play 50% of the baseball season.

    Open Enrollment Act Schools/Low Achieving Schools
    A student at any grade level may transfer from an open enrollment act
    school/low achieving school, as defined by the State Department of
    Education and on the annual published list, without limitation upon
    receipt of a valid CIF Form (please use local CIF Section Form). Any
    student transferring under the provisions of this Bylaw must meet all other
    applicable eligibility guidelines [see Bylaws 203, 204, 205, 207.B(1),
    210]. Students may not receive unlimited eligibility if there is evidence
    that the transfer is athletically motivated, or there is undue influence
    or pre-enrollment contact (see Bylaw 207.C). All requests for athletic
    transfer eligibility (Bylaw 207) must be accompanied by a copy of their
    district-approved transfer documentation/form under the applicable district
    guidelines. Students transferring under the provisions of this Bylaw
    may transfer to a public school, including a charter school (that is or is
    not on the list of open enrollment act schools/low achieving schools) as
    long as the school to which a student transfers has a higher API than the
    student’s current school. The school to which the student transfers must
    be to either the geographically closest public school or the geographically
    closest charter school to the residence of the student and to the parent(s)/
    guardians(s)/caregiver with whom the student was living when the student
    established residential eligibility at the open enrollment act school/low
    achieving school. To obtain athletic eligibility at a school other than the
    closest public or charter school, a student must apply for, and be granted, a
    hardship waiver pursuant to other CIF eligibility rules.
    Q: Why are charter schools included?
    A: Charter schools are considered public schools and are included on the
    list of Low Performing Schools and are subject to this Bylaw.
    Q: Does this Bylaw apply to private schools?
    A: No. Private schools do not have an API score and therefore there is no
    score to measure where they stand.
    Q: My school is on the open enrollment act school/low achieving school
    list. I want to go to a school that is not the geographically closest higher
    performing school. Am I eligible?
    A: No. This Bylaw indicates you are eligible at the next geographically
    closest higher performing school.
    Q: What if the next geographically closest school is impacted and closed
    to new students?
    A: You would be eligible at the next geographically closest school as long
    as that school is a higher performing school.

  2. Fred Jackmovich
    February 21, 2019 at 8:46 am

    The C.I.F no matter who is in the position will tell you they do not review or negotiate with any student no matter what the circumstances are. They continue to drag you along with transferring you to every person on a list so that your child ends up serving the sit out period anyhow. When you quote a by-law they use a different one that benefits them to make their ruling. They know unless you want to enlist about $5,000 dollars for a attorney you have no choice but to sit out.

  3. German A Lopez
    March 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Let’s all get together and go for a class action or a join law sue

  4. John G. Havrisik
    January 11, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    @ Christian Hendricks

    This is a great thing you started but I noticed in is over 4 years old now.

    I am for the idea you have presented, as my son’s rights are being violated and all because any coach from another school can make an allegation surpassing his own athletic director, and it will be looked in to. In this case a girl’s coach who lost a player to high school “b”, not only went after that girl and that coach, but also the boys program at the same school because of affiliation on a club level.

    Meanwhile my son, who is an “sop” (sit out period) transfer, and a multi-sport varsity athlete, is being punished for legally transferring to the school, and is following the rules for the CIF mandatory sit-out period. My son was not approached or coerced by anyone affilitated to soccer or football or volleyball, or school B, or the club in which he plays soccer, or any person for that matter, to transfer. CIF has been sitting on my son’s file for week.

    Why? Because it is about club ball. So since the girls coach of school “B” is the President of the Club at Club “B”, a club A coach/high school coach, that the high school coach making the allegations belongs can circumvent his own A.D. and work with CIF Assistant Commissioner who in turn is the one who will head of the investigation before the CIF Commissioner make “His” decision.

    The spirit of the rules is to prohibit recruiting and the transfer of students for purely athletic reasons. Regarding my son, there was no recruitment and the transfer was for bettering his chances as collegiate scholarship, a rationale that was accepted by both the school districts in regards to the transfer and he has fulfilled following the rules of CIF by sitting out the mandatory periods for transfer in his respective sports.

    If it was athletically motivated I would of sent him to rival of his current school who is know for recruiting by setting him up with a bogus address, allowing him to play immediately, and has a Nationally Ranked #2 team in football since my son can kick the ball 70 yards, because that 14-1 school had 106 kick-off attempts.

    Anybody knowing how to go about changing the CIF, in order for players who have followed the rules of transfer so that they do not get harmed, I desire to talk to.


    John G. Havrisik


    • German A Lopez
      March 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      I’m on the boat the coaching staff didn’t want my son to play for a rival school and no my son i banned my from from playing for a whole year even after giving them proof if you like to call me I’m currently interviewing attorneys 408-660-6586 German Lopez

  5. Laurren Kennedy
    August 4, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I have had a ridiculous experience with CIF and my local school district over the past 12 months. I have learned things that I am sure most parents and community partners aren’t aware of. I tried to email chendricks@cifwatchdog.com, but the message was returned undeliverable. I want to speak to you about an Idea that I have to once and for all rein in CIF for the best interest of our kids.

    Laurren Kennedy

  6. theress
    May 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    my son with currently playing at the high school under CIF in the CBL league during the course of him playing football my son was a victim of hate crimes and bullying a parent’s worst nightmare but to top of this nightmare are entrusted coaches decided to lock the team on the field hang up jerseys drenched in with lighter fluid and set them on fire I have witnesses pictures and documentation to These events I pulled my son at the school immediately in fear for his safety CIF is now giving him a mandatory one year sit out for a transfer we obtained a lawyer but cif position is they feel there was no wrong DoingI want to take this to the news media

  7. Opy
    April 8, 2014 at 5:07 am

    SOP was yesterday. We continued a suspended game from a rain out yesterday. In the 5th inning the AD comes over and says she can’t play because this is a continuation of a suspended game from last week. I was told by my AD that she was good to go. I pulled the girl immediately. We end up winning the game after being down by 5. They will protest. What’s your opinion?

  8. cif_financial_hardship_unrealastic
    April 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I have a child that attended his freshman year and half of sophomore year at a private school. Due to situations beyond my control my finances changed and my monthly bring home pay was reduced 2000$ per month. I had to pull my child and place him in the local public school. I filed a CIF hardship and learned that in 2014 that financial hardships are no longer considered. does this mean even though i cannot afford private school my son has to suffer and sit out for 30 days. The CIF officials live in an ivory tower and make unrealistic rules. does anyone know how a financial hardship can be considered – or does my child have to further suffer?

  9. Mark
    April 2, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Thank You for this site i will be telling friends about this site. i am going thru the appeal process as we speak. over a few general questions over 2 emails.

  10. sochi sung
    February 11, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for your motivation to initiate this page. We were definelely in a very great need to put this out in the open for a change. God bless you.

  11. Sandra
    December 31, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Sue,

    Did you ever get resolution on this?? I am going thru the same thing I homeschooled my daughter for a half year and they are counting it as her second transfer. I don’t understand how it counts as there is no sports. I think there should be an adjustment.. Plus the homeschool is not a member of CIF therefore that cannot be applied.. If you have had success in this please let me know! I have filed for an appeal!

  12. Sue
    November 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I have an eligibility question. My daughter played JV soccer at our public high school last year as a freshman. We decided to pull her out and put her into a homeschool program through a charter school this school year. The charter school has no sports programs so we figured she would just play on her club team. We found out just a few weeks ago that homeschoolers can play soccer under Calvary Chapel PSP homeschool umbrella. So, we transferred her so she could continue to play soccer during high school season. When we turned in our CIF paperwork, we were told she was denied for varsity play the entire year because she had 2 transfers. Our understanding before we made the transfer was that she would just have to wait the sit out period.

    She was only in the charter school for September and October of this year. I don’t understand why the charter school transfer would matter since there was no opportunity for her to play a sport through the school.

  13. Gloria Munoz
    October 10, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I am currently going through an issue with CIF as I email. I am so disappointed in the way that they collect so called facts, I am also very upset that they do not take into consideration the mistakes and emotional aspect of thier process. If you have time I would like to speak to someone about what I can do to fight the final appeal decision.

  14. Randy
    March 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Help – I am drowning in the twist & turns of the CIF appeals process & cant keep up with their never ending rules.

    My son was denied eligibility and I am looking for experienced legal advice to what my options are as a parent to see what recourse we may have to attempt to fix what I believe to be an injustice directed at my son.



    • Kuji E. Amani
      August 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Have you gotten any help or is this really old? We’re in that boat now.
      Kuji Amani

  15. John Lo
    October 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    HI – My son just received his denial of transfer eligibility from the CIF Southern Section. Tried to email Christian at chendricks@cifwatchdog.com for help but it bounced back. Any suggestions?

    • October 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      email us at ccswatchdog@gmail.com we may be able to help , or at least explain what we have been seeing related to CIF and eligibility cases. Is this your first denial or have you been through the Section’s appeal process? We are familar with many cases pending in the Southern Section.

  16. October 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you for the efforts in forming this group to the South. We have also formed this group for the Central Coast Section. Unfortunately, and the main reason CIF continues unchallenged, is that many families, athletes, students and schools who experience unfair decisions or rulings from CIF either do not have the finances or passion to continue the fight. Let’s face it high school sports only last four years at most and CIF can outlast every high school student who has ever had an issue. They continue in safe and secure jobs where they set the rules , police the rules and rule on the rules. Where else in America does this happen? They seem to have the lines down to create an empathetic appearance ” we wish we didn’t have to do this” , but keep in mind they always have full authority to not do it , so they clearly aren’t wishing very hard. The Central Coast Section appears to be boiling to the top on several issues. Schools are tired of the burdens CCS places on them when they have more pressing educational burdens to deal with and the legal expenses in CIF are soaring. There is no urgency to control those costs as they are simply passed on to member schools. We are currently investigating use of funds in the CCS office itself. We invite you to join us at CCS watchdog on word press as well!

  17. Dan
    October 8, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Thank you for starting this blog. I am currently providing support to three different cases related to CIF. I have read your previous posts and fully agree with your statements. Having intimate knowledge of the CIF rules, bylaws and procedures gives me great cause for alarm. I am currently aware of several lawsuits being put together. CIF is clearly not motivated to control their legal costs, implement fair or reasonable procedures nor operate with any transparency. As you discussed before I have been amazed to see Sections turn a blind eye to favorite school districts that repeatedly violate CIF rules while they crack down excessively on other schools for minor infractions.
    I would fully support kicking this up to a state level and helping to make some noise so it gets attention. With the budget crisis this state faces, CIF and its Sections are acting recklessly with money that should be going for kids, not for fat salaries, expense accounts and unnecessary travel. They certainly can Skype rather than go on fancy paid trips just to have meetings. We need more transparency and balance. The Section Commissioners are granted far too much authority, then appoint that ” good old boy or gal ” network to support them and give them job security.
    I fully support your efforts and will dedicate my resources to providing additional information and services for this effort. I would suggest the following :
    1. Contact major newspapers and give them a path to the stories about ridiculous rulings and poor fiscal management. If local papers found out how much Section offices spend , how much Commissioners earn , what their expenses are and the type of decsions they are making, the papers would run with it because it is yet another example of unchecked government negatively interfering with families who simply want an education for their kids and opportunities in sprots to keep kids focused and away from risky behavior. I would suggest sending individuals to the Section and CIF offices where under the Freedom of Information Act, they can get information about meetings, votes, budgets, expenses, etc. I am aware there is some abuse, even if not deliberate, could be criminal in nature especially for Section Commissioners who supposedly have this great authority in their offices, therefore they are either benefiting from excessive expense accounts or responsible from them. When you dig in places like this you always find something! There is enough in public records that is problematic for these same individuals that seem to run untouched making decisions for families and schools everyday. Providing transparency on what those people are doing is the most effective way to get some good attention and cause public outrage.
    2. I believe you grossly under estimate legal expenses for CIF. When you include Section legal fees and private settlements, I am willing to bet that number is much higher. Each year CIF has to give a report to the state legislature, I am sure legal expenses are buried in that. It would be very effective to start pointing those numbers out and then to put pressure on the legislature to pressure CIF directly. This information disclosed to the papers would help ramp up the pressure too. People will not like money bleeding out and being taken away from educationfor ridiculous legal fees in this economy- most schools in CIF are public that means tax payer money- government waste . With hard numbers and soft private information ( cases that settled or are in process) taking that to state represetatives ,e vent he Governer will cause extreme pressure on those folks who in turn will be forced to deal more directly with CIF and their representatives ( Hence force the transparency)
    3. To address oversight , there are procedural issues that CIF simply does not address. There appears to be an iron curtain up when it comes to how CIF and Sections operate. AS you mentioned there is very little regard for legal or balanced representation and due process. People who get in the organization seem to recycle around making the same arguments. Section Commissioners are granted tremendous oversight with little obligation to develop training and procedures that ensure basic Constitutional Rights and Fundamental procedures. Through the cases I have assisted with, I have found huge gaps and violations but since many people are interested in their personal issue, many of those issues are not addressed for the greater good. Appeals and procedures are often based on eligibility for a particular student and once that student has moved on the pressing issue and economic commitments do not continue to address larger CIF and Section issues. In kicking this up to papers and state representatives , it would be more sustainable. Then rather than just address individual issues and continue the same pattern. Then as one family leaves, another coming into the system facing the same issues would have more information and support which would keep pressure up. Many of these people in the CIF are appointed. Their qualifications are loosely defined and their expertise never fully monitored, yet they impact the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of athletes each year. Starting to point ot individuals and procedures in the organization would force the oversight you seek as well.
    I think this would be a great platform for a watchdog group that may be able to start shining a spotlight on these issues and get something done. Happy to help you and provide tremendous information and direction and assistance if you would like help! Would be great to get a legal champion willing to take this on too! It would be great experience and exposure for a legal mind seeking high visability in government or sports law!

  18. Steve Burt
    August 7, 2011 at 2:50 am

    CIF-Southern Section has a new commissioner. Rob Wigod who has work with section for over 10-years took over the job on August 1.

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