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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | East County / Moorpark

Plan Would Restrict Out-of-Area Athletes

October 24, 2000|TRACI ISAACS

School board trustees are expected to approve a proposal to prohibit out-of-area athletes from playing varsity sports for one year after transferring to a city school.

The proposal, spearheaded by the Marmonte League, is aimed at preventing sports teams from adding muscle to their ranks by using players who do not live in the area. Students who transfer within the city or between districts will be required to play in the junior varsity division until completing one academic year.

"Our concern is that we have home-grown students coming up through the ranks who are being denied the right to play because ringers are coming in," said David Pollock, a Moorpark Unified School District board member.

Smaller schools losing top athletes to larger ones happens often, Pollock said, but it's seldom talked about.

Marmonte coaches and principals proposed the ban in May. Six of the seven league schools approved it and one abstained, resulting in the item being tabled until Sept. 13, when the ban won unanimous support.

That allowed the league to solicit support from the Conejo, Las Virgenes, Simi and Moorpark districts, which represent the Marmonte League's Westlake, Newbury Park, Agoura, Simi Valley, Royal, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks high schools.

Calabasas High School is expected to join the league in the next two years.

All four boards must OK the proposal or it's back to ground zero for Marmonte. If approved, the rule would take effect in fall 2001.

Oxnard Union High School District adopted a similar policy a few years ago.

Royal High School Principal Bob LaBelle, who supports the league plan, presented the idea to the Moorpark and Simi school boards two weeks ago. He plans to introduce the idea to the Las Virgenes school board tonight.

LaBelle contacted Conejo Unified but said he has not heard back from officials there.

"They've been giving us the cold shoulder. Two of the [Conejo Unified high] schools are in favor of it, one isn't," he said, referring to Westlake High.

The Moorpark school board meets at 6 tonight in the Apricot Room at the Moorpark Community Center, 799 Moorpark Ave.

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