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The Decision: Excerpts From the Court

February 14, 1986

Excerpts from the opinion of Superior Court Judge Harmon G. Scoville rendered Thursday in the denying of a peremptory writ of mandate sought by Ocean View Coach Jim Harris, the high school's Basketball Parents Boosters, and 12 players against the California Interscholastic Federation, the CIF Southern Section, the Huntington Beach Union High School District, and Ocean View High School:

1. Sports is a privilege and does not rise to the level of a constitutionally protected fundamental right.

2. The court reviewed a rule promulgated by the CIF which limited a student's participation in athletics to prevent "school shopping" by young athletes and concluded that the rule does not create an inherently "suspect class" nor impinge on a "fundamental right."

3. As a tenured teacher, Petitioner Jim Harris unquestionably has certain rights to a pre-termination hearing with reference to his position as a teacher. However, the District has no obligation to provide Harris with a hearing because he continues to hold his position as a permanent tenured employee of the District. Moreover, Harris' coaching assignment is incidental to his tenured employment and is subject to termination by the District governing board at any time.

4. The Court finds that Petitioner Harris curtailed the hearing process by his own actions (signing a statement of guilt to using "undue influence") and may not now complain of a denial of due process.

5. This Court finds that the circumstances of this case do not support Petitioner Harris' claims of coercion and duress.

6. This Court finds that (CIF) Rule 510 is not ambiguous.

7. The Court finds Petitioner Harris, the Ocean View High School Basketball Parents Boosters, and the individual minors as a team do not have proper standing in this suit against the CIF.

8. The Court finds that there was no abuse of discretion by the CIF under the circumstances.

9. It is not important whether this Court agrees or does not agree with the sanctions imposed. The question is whether or not the CIF has abused its discretion and the Court, after careful consideration, is satisfied that no abuse has been sufficiently shown.

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