The California Interscholastic Federation is consulting with organizations inside and outside the state in an effort to establish an eligibility policy for victims of Hurricane Katrina who come to the area to attend high school and play sports, Executive Director Marie Ishida said.
The San Diego Section has begun to receive teenage evacuees from Louisiana, and the Los Angeles City Section and Southern Section are also beginning to deal with eligibility issues. A major decision looming in the next few days is how sections will proceed with individuals who have no documentation of their age or academic standing.
Ishida said the CIF might have to rely on the integrity of the students and their guardians since their old school documents might be destroyed. She said the CIF will try to be sensitive to the needs of the displaced students and be lenient in its eligibility requests.
Normally, teenagers who move to the area without their parents must obtain a hardship waiver and change legal guardianship.
"Our goal is to get them active and playing," Ishida said.
Two Louisiana football players, who are cousins of Marshall Jones, a Westlake Village Oaks Christian defensive back, have moved into the Jones house in Agoura Hills and are expected to enroll at Oaks Christian. The school is awaiting a policy decision from the CIF.
In Texas, the University Interscholastic League is expected to issue "hundreds, if not thousands" of waivers, allowing transfer students to participate in high school sports, according to spokeswoman Kim Rogers.
A new eligibility form was created in Texas, where students transferring because of Katrina don't need the signature of a former school official to play sports. Rogers said Texas officials will rely on the truthfulness of the student but could later apply sanctions if falsification occurred.
"We're trying to help these kids get back to as normal as possible," Rogers said.
-- Eric Sondheimer