Narbonne Girls Face the Loss of State Title
Harbor City Narbonne High, which lost its appeal to the California Interscholastic Federation after being stripped of its City Section 4-A girl’s basketball championship for rules violations, is likely to be stripped of its state Division I championship as well.
Jack Hayes, executive director of the state CIF, said Monday that he will discuss the issue with other state officers this week. Hayes and his colleagues are in Denver attending meetings of the National Federation of High Schools.
Hayes said that if Narbonne is stripped of its state championship--which would be a first in state history--he will recommend that the Division I title be left vacant, rather than awarding it to Berkeley, which Narbonne defeated in the Division I final.
Narbonne lost its City 4-A title on April 17, after the City Section’s rules committee completed an investigation into 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 for the City Section playoffs next season.
Sisters Portia and Raimi Mitchell are ineligible for one year, retroactive to March 2, because of residence issues. Portia Mitchell will be a senior and Raimi Mitchell a junior. Syreeta Stafford, who will be a junior, is ineligible retroactive to Feb. 20.
In addition, the girls’ basketball program is on probation for two years.
Narbonne had appealed the 11-member rules committee’s actions to a three-member City Section appeals panel, which upheld the decision.
The school then appealed to the state CIF, hoping that some, if not all, of the sanctions would be overturned.
Hayes said his role was to review the procedures and documentation that the City Section used before making the decision to strip Narbonne of its title. He said he conferred with City appeals panel members, City Commissioner Barbara Fiege and Narbonne administrators before last week’s decision to uphold the sanctions.
“My conclusion was that the panel did act reasonably,” Hayes said. “They made a decision based on reason. It wasn’t arbitrary or capricious.”
Narbonne Principal Pat Donahoe said the decision is, “devastating to the program.” Neither he nor Coach James Anderson said Narbonne would contest the decision in court.
Hayes said a final decision on the status of the Division I title would be made next week. But he said some good has already come from the situation.
“Frankly, everybody that I’ve talked to in Los Angeles said what they want to see come out of this is a reaffirmation of the need to have high standards for athletic programs,” Hayes said. “In this case, it would include aggressive and comprehensive examination of students’ eligibility.”
Times staff writer Greg Sandoval contributed to this story.