Craig Cooper, who was cut from the Westlake High baseball team last month, eight months after being named the team’s most valuable player, said Monday that his appeal to a Conejo Valley Unified School District official for reinstatement has been denied.
Carol Erie, the district’s director of secondary education, was to rule on the appeal by Monday. She did not return repeated messages left at her office.
Cooper said he was notified by the district office Monday of Erie’s decision. He said he didn’t know if he would carry his appeal to Supt. William R. Seaver, the next step in the appeal process.
“I want to be on the team,” Cooper said. “But at this point, late in the season, they’ve already played five games and it would probably upset the chemistry of the team.”
Craig’s father, Herman, has claimed that Coach Rich Herrera cut Craig because of problems caused by an emotional disorder and not because of Craig’s performance on the field.
Bob Fisher, Westlake athletic director, stood behind Erie’s decision, as did Rich Eby, the team’s booster club president.
“I would say they made the right decision,” Eby said. “They’ve got to support the coach. And I believe, in discussing this situation with other parents, that they would all be in support of this kind of decision.”
School officials have refused to discuss the particulars of the case, including the reasons behind dismissing Cooper from the team.
“It deals with the student,” Fisher said, “and anything regarding that would have to do with the student’s right to privacy.”