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The Preps / Scott Howard-Cooper : Private Eye Keeps Tabs on Beverly Hills Athletes

October 01, 1985|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

In the aftermath of Huntington Beach Ocean View's forfeiting last season's 5-A Division basketball runner-up trophy and being barred from the 1986 playoffs, and Santa Monica's forfeiting all its basketball wins from the last two seasons, here comes the newest big man on campus.

The private investigator.

Connie Jenkins, Santa Monica school board president, proposed the idea at a recent meeting, but a district hiring someone to check the validity of student addresses, athletes or otherwise, is nothing new. Beverly Hills, for instance, will pay Ron Vitale $6,000 this year to stake out residences and determine if 150 to 200 suspicious students really do live within district boundaries. The two basketball teams got into trouble because they used athletes from outside their boundaries.

Vitale, claiming that 60%-70% of his suspects end up having to go back to their proper schools, said he doesn't know how many are athletes and doesn't care. But Jack Dyck, the Normans' athletic director and basketball coach, said he is hearing more about the problem in discussions with other coaches and has seen it firsthand at Beverly Hills.

"What we are finding, and in basketball more than any other sport, is that we have guys coming to us during the summer leagues and saying how their aunt lives in Beverly Hills and he wants to play here or, 'Do you know of an address we can use?' " Dyck said. "We tell them flat out they can't get in if they don't live in the district. Then they're shopping themselves around from school to school.

"And it's not limited to Santa Monica, from what I'm hearing. . . . There's plenty of other schools out there with students attending illegally."

That's why, he believes, more administrators will be going to the private investigators.

The City Section has a similar attitude, but the work is done within the L.A. Unified School District by Pupils, Services and Attendance workers and not private investigators.

Dyck became involved in the Santa Monica issue when Thousand Oaks basketball Coach Ed Chevalier called and asked that his team be awarded first place in the Beverly Hills Tournament of 1983.

Thousand Oaks lost to Santa Monica in the final, but Chevalier's contention is that the Vikings should give back the trophy since they had to forfeit the wins in the record books. A decision is forthcoming, Dyck said.

Postscript I: Rick Ready, how you led us on. You came from the college ranks to take over at St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, a team that was, in your own words, "small, slow and weak."

So the Swordsmen opened the season at Glendale High against Loyola, an 8-3 team last season, and won behind senior quarterback John Scott, a starter on the basketball team since his freshman year. Then they beat Whittier to go 2-0 and earn a spot in The Times' Southern Section Top 10.

Then it was time to be forced back to reality against the next opponent: Carson, No. 1 in the City. Bigger, faster, stronger Carson.

Yet when it was all over, St. Paul had a 9-7 victory and a 3-0 record.

Then again, maybe Ready was doing a big psych job on everyone. He does have a degree in child psychology.

Postscript II: Bill Wilke of Harrison, Mich., has been getting some positive feedback from parents, coaches, college administrators and NCAA officials on his booklets discussing in laymen's terms what it should take for a high school athlete to play in college, including last week's column item, Proposition 48.

"It's not designed for the super athlete," said Wilke, who holds a doctorate in education from Michigan State. "We think it is for the person who wants to give sports a try in college and maybe walk on."

He collaborated with his son, Jason, then a high school freshman, on "The High School Football Player," and has followed up with similar texts on boys' and girls' basketball. For more information: Sports Information Service, P.O. Box 573, Harrison, Mich., 48625, or call (517) 539-2611.

Dirk Borgognone of Reno High in Nevada went into Friday night's game against nearby Sparks with a strained knee, a twisted ankle and only one successful kick in five in previous field goal attempts. By the time it was over, though, he was a celebrity.

Borgognone, named the top high school kicker in the country by Street and Smith magazine at the start of the season, made good from 35, 41, 23, 54 and 68 yards, the last of which set a national prep record. And by Sunday night the long kick, which was made in the third quarter of Reno's 34-14 win, was being shown on national news shows.

"It was low," Borgognone, a soccer-style kicker, told the Associated Press. "I figured it would drop short. From where I was I didn't think it went through. When they (the officials) came out with their hands up, I almost died and had a heart attack. When I made it, I jumped about five feet off the ground."

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