Decision on Santa Clara Delayed

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<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

The Southern Section Executive Committee will wait until Santa Clara basketball Coach Lou Cvijanovich explains his actions in person before determining whether the Saints or Cvijanovich will be penalized for withdrawing from the South Coast Holiday Christmas Tournament at Estancia High in December.

A closed hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 30 at the Southern Section office in Cerritos. Cvijanovich and Santa Clara principal Sister Adrienne Pereira will appear before the 5 officers of the executive committee. Tournament directors Chuck and Art Perry, who filed the complaint, are also expected to be present.

Santa Clara forfeited 2 consolation games and apparently violated a written contract for not fulfilling its obligation to play 4 games in the 16-team tournament. Cvijanovich decided to pull his team from the tournament after complaining about the officiating during a 39-38 second-round loss to Huntington Beach Edison.


Citing one-sided officiating for his actions, Cvijanovich has said in published reports that he was concerned about the welfare of his players and feared that someone would get hurt if his team continued to play.

Cvijanovich refused further comment until a decision has been reached.

Tournament directors claim they have suffered a financial loss because gate receipts had to be refunded and referees had to be paid. Opposing schools are upset because they were unable to play a scheduled game.

The executive committee, a 12-member panel consisting of school principals and athletic directors, was expected to make a decision about the issue during a weekend meeting in Palm Desert, but was unable to reach a verdict.

“This is a complicated issue that has no precedent,” Southern Section administrator Dean Crowley said. “The council is concerned about protecting the interest of the tournament and give due process to Santa Clara.

“Things can be said in writing, but the council has questions that need to be answered. And neither the school nor the tournament officials were present.”

Principal Tom Jacobson of Corona del Mar, superintendent Gary Smidderks of L. A. Baptist, superintendent Bruce Keuning of Bellflower Christian Schools, superintendent Robert Packer of Duarte Unified School District and Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas will listen to testimony and make a recommendation.


The 12-member committee is expected to make a final decision after its next meeting Feb. 16, which is prior to the conclusion of the basketball playoffs.