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VALLEY/VENTURA DIGEST : Simi Valley High Baseball Placed on Probation

March 21, 1995

The Simi Valley High School baseball program has been placed on probation because of a violation of CIF Southern Section undue-influence rules, the section announced Monday.

Southern Section Commissioner Dean Crowley, who had it in his power to ban the Pioneers from the playoffs, said probation meant simply the section "would monitor the program."

Crowley received word of Simi Valley Principal Kathryn Scroggin's discipline against Coach Mike Scyphers last week and a hearing was scheduled for this Friday. But, with Monday's announcement, that hearing was canceled.

"The CIF Southern Section office has been in communication with Simi Valley Principal Kathryn Scroggin and, as of this date, the commissioner has accepted the penalties imposed by the principal in this matter," read a prepared statement issued by the section.

Scyphers, who refused to comment on the discipline, has not coached five of the Pioneers' eight games this season.

A source within the program said Scyphers was suspended for those games and had one remaining game to sit out.

Scroggin could not be reached for comment.

The alleged undue-influence violation occurred when Scyphers called sophomore pitcher Mike Rainer in September, the day before school started, and persuaded him to attend Simi Valley.

Rainer had played in the Simi Valley program as a junior high ninth-grader but was enrolled to begin his sophomore year at Royal High. He enrolled at Simi Valley after the conversation with Scyphers, but he transferred to Royal in December.

The allegations came to light last month when Rainer sought a hardship waiver for immediate varsity eligibility at Royal.

Rainer's waiver was initially denied by the section, but Crowley said it was approved on Monday because Rainer's mother brought forward new information regarding a change in her job that created the hardship for her son to attend Simi Valley.

A hearing on Rainer's eligibility, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been canceled.

Soccer

Cal State Northridge made it official this week by announcing it will proceed with plans to field a women's soccer program next fall.

Passage of a student fee referendum earlier this month will give the athletic department the resources to field a new team without making massive cuts elsewhere. The referendum will generate more than $1 million annually for Matador athletics.

The school plans to conduct a national search for a coach, Athletic Director Bob Hiegert said. The school also considered fielding soccer as a club sport in its inaugural season and hadn't completely committed to a 1995 start-up date.

Hiegert said the women's team probably will play an abbreviated NCAA schedule as an independent in its first season.

He said approximately 2 1/2 scholarships will be offered the first year. Initially, players will be sought from among students already enrolled at the school.

Eventually, Northridge could land in the American West Conference. League members Cal State Sacramento and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo field women's teams, Hiegert said.

Establishment of a women's soccer program is the school's first major step toward reaching Cal State University gender-equity requirements.

In 12 years under Coach Marwan Ass'ad, the Northridge men's soccer team has had only one losing season. Ass'ad said a women's team can be equally successful.

"There are as many girls at our (summer instructional) camps as boys," Ass'ad said. "I know there's lots of interest in the Valley area."

The Northridge men averaged nearly 1,000 in attendance per home match in 1991 and pulled in a school-record 4,588 for a match in 1988.

Northridge may add another women's sport in 1996-97.

Times staff writers Steve Elling and Jeff Fletcher contributed to this story.

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