Simi Valley High baseball Coach Mike Scyphers gained unanimous school-board approval Thursday to return as coach next season, ending 73 days of controversy.
The five members of the Simi Valley Unified School District board, who voted after a 75-minute meeting with Scyphers, approved his return after he agreed to a year's probation, during which he will have to abide by 10 stipulations regulating his conduct.
Neither Scyphers nor representatives of the school district would specify the stipulations, but Scyphers said one of them was that he no longer use a traditional team disciplinary practice called "the block," in which players bid small amounts of money for the right to paddle teammates who violate rules. The practice violated the state education code.
Scyphers also agreed to remain on campus during school hours, a disciplinary action suggested by Principal Kathryn Scroggin. Scyphers was able to persuade the board members to remove one of Scroggin's disciplinary measures: that he supply the school with a schedule of the college basketball games he officiates in his spare time.
Scyphers was suspended as baseball coach May 3, after police and the school district began investigating allegations of financial and disciplinary improprieties.
Besides "the block," Scyphers admitted to improperly accepting $2,000 from an adult baseball organization for the use of the baseball field at Simi Valley High, violating district rules. Scyphers used part of that money to pay his assistant coaches without the knowledge of the district, a Southern Section violation.
Scyphers, who has led the Pioneers to national prominence during his 16 seasons, was cleared by the Ventura County district attorney of criminal wrongdoing on June 8. His suspension was lifted the next day. But because all coaches in the district are on one-year contracts, Scyphers needed the board's approval to return.