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Inquiry begins into Dominguez transfers

October 30, 2008|Lance Pugmire

The Southern Section said Wednesday it has started an inquiry into whether any rules were broken in the numerous transfers of talented boys basketball players who have played at perennial CIF power Compton Dominguez High.

"We have received a request from the CIF Southern Section, and the request is under consideration at this time," Compton Unified School District spokeswoman Christine Sanchez said.

After an article in The Times on Monday raised questions about Dominguez's adherence to rules that forbid recruiting and dictate students' residential requirements, a section official said the Compton Unified School District will be asked to provide documented proof that validates the eligibility of players who have switched schools to play for Dons Coach Russell Otis.

"We are seeking their cooperation and hope they will provide documentation answering some of the questions about the transfer students raised in the story," section spokesman Thom Simmons said.

Simmons said the section is additionally working to compile a complete list of transfers who have flocked to Dominguez. Asked about a more thorough official review of those players' eligibility, Simmons said, "We're getting to that."

The coach is on paid administrative leave as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigates an allegation of criminal misconduct against him.

He has denied breaking rules to win, but former player Austin Autry told The Times he was recruited to the school from Torrance Bishop Montgomery High by Otis and an assistant coach, and the residency eligibility of a 2007-08 part-time Don, Aaron Moore, is suspect after Moore had earlier received a hardship waiver to play at Riverside Poly High but returned to Dominguez.

In a letter responding to Times questions this month about residential checks, a Compton Unified School District spokesperson said transfers must provide proof of residency, such as utility bills, and that "district staff annually reviews, checks and approves these addresses."

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Pugmire is a Times staff writer.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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