Vote Will Determine Santa Margarita’s League Placement

Times Staff Writer

Orange County high school principals will meet Wednesday at Foothill High School to vote on a proposal to allow Santa Margarita to compete in a league with public schools, according to Stan Thomas, Southern Section commissioner.

Santa Margarita, a Catholic school in southern Orange County, currently competes in the Olympic League, which consists of seven parochial schools. Principals will decide at Wednesday’s meeting whether to allow the Eagles to compete in an all-public school league.

Under Southern Section rules, areas can consider realigning leagues every 2 years. Any accepted realignment proposal will take effect with the 1990-91 season.

“It’s up to the (county’s) principals to decide,” Thomas said. “If they are opposed, even by a simple majority, then that’s it.”


Should the principals vote against Santa Margarita, the Eagles’ options would be to join the Angelus League or play a free-lance schedule, according to Thomas. Santa Margarita eventually will have too large an enrollment to stay in the Olympic League, Thomas said.

Dennis Evans, Newport Harbor High School principal, said the drawback to allowing Santa Margarita into a league with public schools is that parochial schools operate under a different set of rules.

Because parochial schools do not have enrollment boundaries, they can draw students from anywhere.

Evans said it would be more appropriate to place Santa Margarita in the Angelus League, a 5-team league that includes Servite and Mater Dei.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for one parochial school to be in an area with 57 public schools,” Evans said. “It also doesn’t make sense for the Angelus League to be sitting there with five teams when adding Santa Margarita would make it a 6-team league.”

Father Michael Harris, Santa Margarita principal, said the school would prefer to be placed in a public-school league because of logistics. Though the Angelus League has Mater Dei and Servite, both county schools, it also has Bishop Amat (La Puente), Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) and St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs).

“There are not enough Catholic schools in the immediate area to be a part of a league,” Harris said. “The distance would be too far and would involve our students and students from other schools to spend hours on the road in order to compete.”

Harris also noted that Damien High School, a Catholic school in La Verne, is a member of the Baseline League with seven public schools.

Thomas said the current discussion has delayed league realignment for at least a week.

However, some proposals already have been submitted to Orange County principals.

One plan, which was mailed to coaches, athletic directors and principals last week, would eliminate the Century League and create three 8-team leagues and one 7-team league. Only the Garden Grove League would remain intact.