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Posts Tagged ‘CIF Violations’

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

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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.

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?

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.”