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Judge's Decision Reinstates Muir in 4-A Playoffs

February 19, 1988|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | Times Staff Writer

Muir High School of Pasadena was reinstated in the Southern Section 4-A boys' basketball playoffs Thursday by a U.S. Federal Court judge in Los Angeles.

Judge John Davies issued a restraining order against the Pacific League, ruling that Muir players and parents were not made aware of the appeal process after the Mustangs forfeited the league title because of an ineligible player.

A Feb. 29 court date was set to resolve the matter, although the Mustangs cannot be removed from the playoffs at the time.

Under the revised playoff schedule, Muir plays host to Irvine, Glendale loses its home game and instead travels to Ramona of Riverside, and Hoover of Glendale is at Simi Valley.

To allow the teams time to prepare for new opponents, all three games will be played Saturday night at 7:30, one night later than the rest of the division.

"I just stated the facts to the kids that they need to concentrate on basketball and that the only thing to concentrate only on beating Irvine." Muir Coach Mike O'Connor said Thursday night. "One of the things I said to them was that they had a second chance, and not many people get second chances in life, so I want them to take advantage of it."

The biggest loser is Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta, which had been elevated to third place in the Pacific League last week because of Muir's forfeits, but now is back in fourth and out of the playoffs. The decision also is bad news for Hoover, which now faces Simi Valley, the top-seeded team in the 4-A and No. 1 in the Southern Section by The Times.

Whether Muir will have its Pacific League title returned and the forfeits overturned was not immediately known. The Mustangs, winners of 12 of 15 games on the court after starting 2-6, are the No. 1 entry from the Pacific League, but the placing of teams is up to each league and doesn't have to be according to finish or record.

"The issue of forfeits was never addressed," said Dean Crowley, the Southern Section assistant commissioner. "The issue was due process," he added, referring to the judge's point that the Southern Section did not notify Muir parents of a method of appeal.

"We don't view this as a loss. If the rule is wrong, it's up to the governing body to take a look at the rules and regulations," Crowley said. "If the courts deem that our position is correct on Feb. 29, it strengthens our position."

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