Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS. : SCHOOLS : Limits on Sports for Foreign Students Rejected

<i> Times Staff writers Kim Murphy, Mark I. Pinsky and Bill Billiter compiled the Week in Review stories. </i>

A proposal by an Orange County principal that would have barred many foreign students in Southern California from participating in high school varsity athletics was rejected Thursday at a meeting of the California Interscholastic Federation in Norwalk.

Principals representing leagues from the federation’s Southern Section voted 34 to 21 against the proposal, which was initiated by Corona del Mar Principal Dennis Evans and later amended by a rules committee.

The proposal would have banned foreign students who do not live with their parents--or who are not enrolled in any of 11 approved exchange programs--from participating in interscholastic athletics at the Southern Section’s 578 high schools.


It also would have limited the eligibility status of foreign exchange students to the sub-varsity level. Foreign students living in Southern California with their parents would have remained eligible for varsity sports.

Robert A. Boehme, principal at Westminster High School, was a sharp critic of the proposal. About 500 Southeast Asian students attend the school.

“I feel relieved,” Boehme said. “I hadn’t talked to a lot of league representatives, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve voiced my concerns about this rule in the past, and I’m just glad many of my colleagues felt the same way about it.”

Evans introduced the proposal two months ago because he said he was concerned that some area high schools were becoming training grounds for foreign athletes. But critics of the proposal thought it would unfairly penalize a significant portion of Southeast Asian and Central American students, many of whom play badminton, soccer and tennis.