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Eligibility of Athletes at Montclair Investigated

Times Staff Writer

The CIF Southern Section is investigating the eligibility of several football players at Montclair Prep, Commissioner Ray Plutko said Thursday.

Officials at the school in Van Nuys, however, say that all but one of the players have already been cleared. And Montclair Prep Principal V. E. Simpson said he is “very confident” the remaining player under scrutiny will be cleared.

Neither Simpson nor football Coach John Hazelton would identify the player. Both said the player’s residence is at issue.

The investigation “is a question of the eligibility of some players,” Plutko said. He declined to say when the investigation began.

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Because Montclair Prep is a private school, it is not bound by attendance boundaries as public schools are. A California Interscholastic Federation rule states, however, that a student who transfers from one school to another, public or private, without changing residence is ineligible for athletic competition for a year--providing the student does not receive eligibility approval from the principals of both schools.

Hazelton said that he has allowed the object of the probe to continue to play. Since the investigation began, he added, the school has permitted all of the players in question to remain on the team.

Don Thomas, assistant principal at El Camino Real High, said last month that he sent a letter to the Southern Section’s headquarters questioning the eligibility of at least three former El Camino Real students who now attend Montclair Prep.

Hazelton said a Southern Section representative visited Montclair Prep about two weeks ago to meet the players and Simpson. Hazelton said eight or nine players met with the representative.

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Hazelton said the official appeared satisfied of the players’ eligibility after the visit.

“Some of the players mentioned,” Hazelton said, “were kids who had been at Montclair since the seventh grade. Others had been here since the 10th grade.”

Plutko said he expected the investigation to be concluded shortly.


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