The representatives of the 54 leagues that comprise the CIF Southern Section received a packet in the mail last week reviewing the agenda for the first General Council meeting scheduled for Sept. 26 in Cerritos.
Among the items in the packet was a cover letter and three proposals by Corona del Mar Principal Dennis Evans, the Sea View League representative, of new residential eligibility requirements for athletics.
Evans' cover letter reads in part: "At worst, conflicts regarding residential eligibility for athletes can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of educators, destroy our professional collegiality and create skepticism and cynicism among the public regarding the purposes and ethics which guide the governance of our interscholastic athletic programs."
Evans' plan, which was authored by the principals of the Sea View League, is scheduled as a nonaction item for the council meeting. But he's certain to have the representatives' attention with the following proposals:
- A student who transfers from one public high school to another public high school without a corresponding change of residence into the attendance area of the second school by a parent or parents or legal guardian with whom the student resided at the original school will be ineligible for athletics until such time that said parent(s) or legal guardian does establish residence, with the student, in the attendance area of the second school. The same ruling would apply to a transfer from a private-parochial school to a public school.
- A student who resides with his parents or legal guardian in the attendance area of a public high school and attends a private-parochial school and then decides to transfer to that public school will be ineligible for athletics for a period of two years from the date of entry into the public high school. The same ruling would apply to a transfer from a public school to a private-parochial school.
- Foreign exchange students will be ineligible for interscholastic athletics at the varsity level and for all Southern Section playoff competition.
"We basically want to simplify the existing regulations regarding residential eligibility for athletics and increase the probability of enforcing the regulations," Evans said. "We think these proposals put some teeth into the rules.
"The sentiment that I continue to hear is that it's time to clean our own house. We've been sort of naive."
The first proposal is a result from the occurrences at Ocean View High School, where basketball players Ricky Butler and Desi Hazely originally transferred from Lynwood with a legal guardian, Laurant Brown, and then moved in with the school's coach when Brown subsequently moved to Crescenta Valley.
The two players lived at Coach Jim Harris' El Toro home and remained at Ocean View on a waiver from the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Under Evans' proposal, Butler and Hazely would never have been eligible at Ocean View.
Evans' second proposal is aimed at athletes who "shops" for programs that best fits their style of play or allows them a better chance to showcase their talent. If passed, basketball player Stuart Thomas, who transferred from Fountain Valley to Mater Dei, would have been ineligible for varsity competition for two seasons. Basketball player Eric Schurman, who transferred from Mater Dei to Westminster, would not have been eligible for his senior year last season.
The final proposal, if passed, would eliminate the varsity eligibility of foreign exchange students such as Marco Baldi, a 6-foot 10-inch Italian who played basketball and volleyball for one season at Woodbridge.
"I don't think the foreign exchange student proposal will be terribly popular," Evans said. "Please, don't get me wrong. I'm all for the foreign exchange program . . . I think cultural exchange is great. But some of the exchange programs are more concerned with placing athletes than promoting cultural exchange."
Evans' plan would update the transfer rule in the Southern Section Blue Book, the constitution and by-laws that govern the section's member schools. The transfer rule is vague at best and needs to be replaced. It reads:
"A student who transfers from school A to school B without a change of residence on the part of the parent(s) legal guardian from school attendance area A to school attendance area B shall be residentially eligible for all athletic competition, except varsity-level competition in sports in which the student has competed in any level of competition during the 12 calendar months preceding the date of such transfer. The student shall be ineligible for all sports from one calendar year in the event that either or both principals decline to approve athletic eligibility."