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LOCAL NOTES

Section Commissioner Upholds Iti Suspension

November 01, 2000|BEN BOLCH

Southern Section Commissioner James Staunton has upheld Villa Park Principal Fran Roney's athletic suspension of basketball player Martin Iti, section media relations director Thom Simmons said Tuesday.

Ronald E. Lais, an attorney representing Iti, has appealed the decision to a section hearing committee. The committee, which will be comprised of current or former section executive committee members, is expected to hear the appeal in the next week or so.

"We're not expecting it to be denied at the next level," Lais said. "I'm very confident if we get before a committee of neutral judges, we're going to prevail because we have a good story to tell and there really isn't any reason to disqualify Martin."

Last month, Roney declared Iti athletically ineligible for one year after determining that he had misled Orange Unified High School District officials about his academic history. Iti, a junior, said he was in the ninth grade when he left Australia in June 1998 to further his basketball career in the United States, but documents obtained from his high school stated he was in the 10th grade. The difference is significant because it would determine the number of semesters of Iti's remaining eligibility.

If the hearing committee rules against Iti, he can appeal at the state level.

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