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HIGH SCHOOLS

Role of Intermediaries Under Scrutiny

April 27, 2001|BEN BOLCH

Responding to an alarming rise in transfers for athletic purposes, especially among foreign students, the California Interscholastic Federation section commissioners have proposed measures that would force school officials to certify that no one connected with their athletic departments or booster clubs made contact with prospective transfers regarding athletic teams.

The measures, spurred in part by incidents at Artesia, Clovis West and Villa Park high schools in which foreign athletes brought to the schools by intermediaries were later declared ineligible, stirred heavy debate at Thursday's Southern Section council meeting in Long Beach.

The measures, which would strengthen existing rules that already prohibit so-called undue influence, are only in the discussion stage. They will be discussed again at the May 4 state council meeting and could face a vote in October, making them effective beginning in the 2002-03 school year, at the earliest.

The measures would require principals, athletic directors and coaches to attest that "no person connected with the athletic department or booster club, or anyone acting on their behalf, had communication, directly or indirectly, through intermediaries or otherwise, with the student, student's parents, guardian or caregiver, or anyone acting on behalf of the student, prior to the completion of the enrollment process."

In other council action, members approved proposals that will increase the number of wrestling playoff divisions to six from five; limit schools to an equal number of preseason football practices regardless of a school's starting date; increase game officials' pay by $5 a game next school year and $2 a game the following two years, and reduce the number of cross-country teams that can qualify for the state championships to 24 from 25.

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