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Southern Section Sets Date for Canyon Football Hearing : Inquiry: Executive committee will meet Oct. 23 to investigate possible rules violations.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Southern Section has chosen Oct. 23 as the date its executive committee will convene an extensive investigatory hearing to consider possible rules violations by the Canyon High football program.

The inquiry, which will begin at 9 a.m. at the Sequoia Athletic Club in Buena Park, is scheduled to be heard by all 17 members of the executive committee, which consists of school administrators, principals and athletic directors. The committee’s next regularly scheduled meeting, on Oct. 23, has been postponed one day to accommodate the hearing.

The committee authorized Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas to convene the hearing in the wake of admissions by Canyon Principal Bill White and Clyde Smyth, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, that rules violations were committed in the football program.

The hearing will feature witnesses, the presentation of evidence on both sides and will focus on charges that Canyon conducted off-season practices in violation of section rules.

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“All 17 of the executive committee members say they want to hear the case, so that shows the intensity,” Thomas said. “But we’re not trying to dig for anything. We’re just asking people to come in and speak the truth. We want to move forward to ascertain if any violations have taken place.”

The executive committee has the authority to recommend penalties against the football program, but Thomas emphasized that no penalties will be directed at Canyon Coach Harry Welch.

Welch was granted a preliminary injunction last month that stayed a 5 1/2-month suspension recommended by Thomas. Welch, whose teams have posted a 100-19-1 record in nine seasons at Canyon, was accused of conducting an off-season practice. He admits that rules were broken but not by him.

Welch’s attorney, Stephen J. Tully, has characterized the hearing as an end run around the preliminary injunction, which prohibits “any act designed to and having the effect of discouraging, inhibiting or interfering with Welch’s position as head coach.”

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Tully said he is considering whether to return to court in order to block the hearing.


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