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THE PREPS / ERIC SHEPARD

Finance Committee Cleans Up the Mess

May 03, 1994|ERIC SHEPARD

Like many other California businesses, the CIF Southern Section has suffered financial hardships this past year.

Things came to a head in October when Stan Thomas was asked to resign because of expense account excesses. From 1991-93, the section reported deficit spending of $155,000, which wiped out most of its reserves.

With the economy continuing to struggle and no statewide corporate sponsor in sight, the outlook was bleak.

That might explain why the section's Executive Committee was all smiles last week when it announced that it expected to stay within its budget this year, and perhaps have a little cash left.

When Dean Crowley replaced Thomas, he was looking at another year of deficit spending. But a 25% reduction in staff, including Thomas' $85,800 annual salary, and a profit from the basketball playoffs have helped turn things around.

The section's newly formed Finance Committee has done a good job of curtailing expense-account spending and eliminating frivolous expenditures. A company car for the commissioner was one of many items eliminated.

Next year's proposed budget includes a modest increase, from $1.2 million to $1.25 million. There will be no staff increases or raises.

"It's amazing to be in this position after looking at such grim prospects in October," said Tom Triggs, principal of Buena Park High and head of the Finance Committee.

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Crowley, 59, was promoted from associate commissioner to acting commissioner when Thomas resigned. The Executive Committee will decide next month whether to keep Crowley in the job until he's ready for retirement.

Barring last-minute problems, Crowley is expected to be allowed to remain.

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The Southern Section will begin next football season with several questions regarding the playoffs.

Unable to agree on final league placement for several of its 11 divisions, the section's council postponed a decision last week until its next meeting in October.

Late appeals by Miramonte, Tri-Valley and Empire league representatives forced the council to reconsider its groupings. Appeals will be heard in June with final recommendations voted on in the fall.

"It became evident that geographic equity was important to several leagues, so we'll try to rework the divisions to meet those demands," Crowley said.

Crowley said the recommendations in June will be used to complete the football schedule, but acknowledges changes could be made before the season is complete. He expects minor inconveniences, however.

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It has been a difficult season for the Simi Valley baseball team, an annual playoff contender.

The Pioneers lost two Marmonte League games last week to drop their record to 14-6. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, they will be fighting for a playoff berth.

The situation was made worse when Bill Scheffels, a top pitcher and first baseman, was suspended from school indefinitely last Wednesday for allegedly taking part in a bomb-threat prank at school.

Scheffels is leading the league with a .517 batting average, and he is 6-1 with a 2.66 earned-run average. His status with the team is unclear.

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If Sam Sullivan decides to stay on as boys' basketball coach at Fremont, he probably will be looking for a new staff. Assistants Keith Young and Irv Robertson were ordered to disassociate themselves from the program last week for allegedly recruiting players. Another assistant, Michael Houston, is under investigation for his part in a fight during a state playoff game in Fresno in March.

If the district attorney's office in Fresno files charges against Houston, the City Section Rules Committee is expected to ask him to step down.

Sullivan is a veteran in the City Section, having coached at Fremont the last 17 years. His teams are traditionally among the section's best.

"I hate being made a sacrificial lamb," Sullivan said last week. "My program is paying the price for a lot of other teams in the City."

Prep Notes

USC lost out on a top football and track recruit last week when Andre DeSaussure of Woodland Hills Taft signed a letter of intent with Washington. DeSaussure was expected to sign with USC, but the Trojans stopped recruiting him last month when the NCAA questioned his participation in a 400-meter relay at the Quincy Watts Invitational at the school in March. The Taft senior ran a leg on the relay, which included Watts, and competed against other college teams. The NCAA interpreted the action as a possible rule violation and made him ineligible to compete at USC. The NCAA later cleared USC of any wrongdoing, but it apparently was too late for DeSaussure, the defending City Section champion in the 100, 200 and 400 meters.

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