Eligibility Plan Faces Administrative Resistance

Times Staff Writer

A proposal for stricter eligibility requirements for athletes in the CIF Southern Section met with strong resistance Thursday at the General Council meeting in Norwalk.

Corona del Mar Principal Dr. Dennis Evans, the Sea View League representative who introduced a three-part plan that would change the transfer rule in the Southern Section by-laws, said he was not surprised by the reaction.

Evans’ proposal included tougher rules for transfer students and called for an end of varsity eligibility for foreign exchange students.

Bruce Keuning, superintendent of Valley Christian High in Cerritos, said, “This plan is discriminating against the private schools, which two previous committees that studied the subject of private-public schools were decidedly against.”

Moe Chavez, president of the General Council and principal at Downey High, said, “I think this proposal needs more deliberation. There are parts of the plan I like and others I don’t. As of now, the plan will go up for a vote in January.”


The proposal:

- A student who transfers from one public high school to another public school without a corresponding change of residence into the attendance area of the second school by a parent or parents or legal guardian with whom the student resided at the original school will be ineligible for athletics until such time that said parent(s) or legal guardian does establish residence, with the student, in the attendance area of the second school. The same ruling would apply to a transfer from a private-parochial school to a public school.

- A student who resides with his parents or legal guardian in the attendance area of a public high school and attends a private-parochial school and then decides to transfer to that public school will be ineligible for athletics for a period of two years from the date of entry into the public high school. The same ruling would apply to a transfer from a public school to a private-parochial school.

- Foreign exchange students will be ineligible for interscholastic athletics at the varsity level and for all Southern Section playoff competition.

The plan, a nonaction item at the meeting, could be voted on in January.

Many of the section’s league representatives were in favor of the first part of the plan in light of the controversy at Ocean View High, where basketball players Ricky Butler and Desi Hazely were ruled ineligible for the 1984-85 season and the Seahawks were consequently forced to forfeit 24 victories.

Butler and Hazely transferred to Ocean View from their parents’ homes in Lynwood with a legal guardian, Laurant Brown. Brown subsequently moved to Crescenta Valley, but the boys remained at Ocean View after Seahawk Coach Jim Harris became their legal guardian.

“The crux of the proposal is that youngsters should stay with their parents,” Evans said. “We have a problem with some of our standards for athletics, and this is one of them.”

However, Dr. Robert Packard, a former principal at Costa Mesa and now a superintendent in the Duarte Unified School District, urged caution because of the recent Ocean View controversy.

“I can understand the frustration, but this is not the answer,” Packard said. “First of all, our existing eligibility rule (Rule 214) is a state rule. Second, these proposals are offering more restrictive legislation in an era where there is more movement than ever. Rule 214 is certainly not perfect, but it works.”

The section’s present transfer rule reads:

“A student who transfers from school A to school B without a change of residence on the part of the parent(s) or legal guardian from school attendance area A to school attendance area B shall be residentially eligible for all athletic competition, except varsity-level competition in sports in which the student has competed in any level of competition during the 12 calendar months preceding the date of such transfer. The student shall be ineligible for all sports from one calendar year in the event that either or both principals decline to approve athletic eligibility.”

In other agenda action:

- Rio Hondo League representative Mickey McNamee proposed that baseball players be allowed the option to wear metal cleats for the 1987 season. The measure, strongly supported by the Southern California Baseball Coaches Assn., is expected to pass in the January meeting.

- Northern League representative Dean Reece proposed the boys’ tennis playoff matches be switched from a 4-2 format (four singles, two doubles) to a 3-3 format (three singles, three doubles). This measure also is expected to pass in January.

- Tri-Valley League athletic director Lou Panizzon proposed that the discus throw be included in the Southern Section championship event and adopted as a scoring event. The measure will be voted upon in January.