Babovic ruling today

Martin Babovic, a foreign exchange student who wants to play water polo, should be cleared today by the Orange County Superior Court to compete for the Corona del Mar High boys’ varsity team, attorney Richard Bridgford said.

Babovic was ruled ineligible to play varsity because the CIF Southern Section deemed that Babovic was not randomly placed at Corona del Mar by the school or the foreign exchange student agency, said Bridgford, the attorney for Babovic. He is eligible to play junior varsity.

“That doesn’t make any sense to me,” the attorney said after their day in court Tuesday. “I don’t think it made any sense to the judge either, but we’ll find out.”

Bridgford also said he believed he established that there was no pre-enrollment contact with Babovic from CdM or the host family. James Watson is the father of the host family.

Babovic was also randomly placed, Bridgford said, and the CIF Southern Section’s investigation was based on an anonymous phone call.

Corona del Mar principal Fal Asrani testified that there was no contact before enrollment, Bridgford said, and communication was made after Babovic knew he was to attend CdM. Watson testified the same, as did the agency for Babovic, AYUSA.

“There is no evidence that [Babovic] was athletically recruited,” Bridgford said. “None.”

Bridgford, who took on the case pro bono, described the CIF Southern Section’s stance as, “a comedy of errors,” because, “they’re trying to cover up their mistakes.”

Paul Orris, the Sea Kings athletic director, also said he didn’t agree with the CIF Southern Section.

“For it to come to this point, I’m just not sure what we’re trying to achieve,” Orris said. “If someone was trying to get away with something, I could see bringing up charges, but it hasn’t been even remotely close to that ... We’re just trying to get the kid a fair shake. I hope they resolve it, just for him.”


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