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Narbonne Stripped of City 4-A Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Harbor City Narbonne girls’ basketball team, which won its first City Section 4-A and Division I state championship last month, was stripped of its City title Thursday for using ineligible players.

The City Section rules committee made the ruling after meeting Wednesday to discuss several issues involving the Narbonne athletic program. Barbara Fiege, commissioner of athletics, said the 11-member committee imposed sanctions against the girls’ basketball program after completing its investigation of allegations of recruiting and falsification of addresses.

Narbonne, which forfeited its last three regular-season games for using an ineligible player, will not be eligible to participate in the City Section girls’ playoffs next season.

Portia Mitchell, a junior, and Raimi Mitchell, a sophomore--who both transferred from North Torrance--were ruled ineligible for one year retroactive to March 2 because of residence issues. Syreeta Stafford, a sophomore who transferred from Washington High, also was ruled ineligible for one year retroactive to Feb. 20 because of residence issues.

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Under City Section rules, Narbonne has 10 days to appeal the decision to Jeri Durham, administrator of the L.A. Unified School District’s office of operations. If the appeal is denied, the school could appeal to the state office of the California Interscholastic Federation.

“We will be appealing that decision [to the City Section],” Narbonne principal Pat Donahoe said. “Our administrators visited the [Mitchell] home and found everything in order. Their belongings were at that location and there was no way I could say they don’t live here.

“We have sworn affidavits and rental agreements and we visited the home. That’s as far as I can go.”

Jack Hayes, executive director of the CIF, said Narbonne’s state championship will not be invalidated until the situation is reviewed by the state CIF executive committee.

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The City 4-A title will officially be listed as vacated, Fiege said.

Other sanctions imposed on Narbonne:

* The entire program was put on probation for two years.

* The football program, which was already on probation, forfeited all of its regular-season games for the 1997 season for using an academically ineligible player. In addition, Coach Leroy Wilson will not be allowed to coach the first two games of the 1998 season.

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* The boys’ basketball program forfeited all of this past season’s practice and conference games for using a player ineligible because of a transfer issue. The program is on probation for the 1998-99 season and the student is ineligible to participate in sports the rest of this school year.


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