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Officials to Probe Sylmar Charge : High school football: Engilman claims improper team meeting on Labor Day was only to hand out uniforms.

September 08, 1993|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The City Section athletics office has directed Sylmar High administrators to investigate allegations that the school's football team held an improper practice on Labor Day.

Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman admitted Tuesday that his team met on campus Labor Day afternoon, but maintained it was only to issue game uniforms. However, City rules prohibited coaches from meeting with players over the three-day holiday weekend, City Commissioner Hal Harkness said.

Sylmar, defending City 4-A Division champion, is ranked ninth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports magazine and first in the region by The Times.

Harkness said he instructed Sylmar Principal Linda Ambro to conduct a probe and mete out punishment if warranted.

The alleged infraction was videotaped by a Kennedy assistant, who supplied the tape to officials at his school. Sylmar, 13-1 in 1992, opens the season at home Friday night against Kennedy.

According to Engilman, Ambro viewed the tape Tuesday night.

The tape reportedly shows Sylmar players working out in and near the team weight room in the presence of coaches. Engilman said he opened the weight room "so players had someplace to wait" as uniforms were issued.

Engilman said that since it is a short school week, he didn't want to spend practice time handing out uniforms. "There's nothing there (on tape)," he said. "Some people should worry about what's in their own back yard."

Engilman said he knew teams were not allowed to practice, but said he was unaware they were prohibited from meeting.

"I'll take the heat," Engilman said. "I accept that, I'm a big boy. But I'm not going to do something stupid (such as intentionally hold an improper practice)."

Harkness said he plans to meet with Ambro on Thursday to review her findings.

"That's the way it has to happen according to protocol," he said. "First we need to determine whether something happened."

Harkness said that if a violation took place and he is not satisfied with punitive measures taken by the school, he might take additional action. Harkness said City schools were notified in writing several weeks ago that contact with players was prohibited over the Labor Day weekend.

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