Damien, St. Lucy’s file federal lawsuits against CIF, commish to avoid parochial league

With 44 schools from which to choose, only three were removed from the Mt. SAC area this year. All three are Catholic affiliated.

This is the argument lawyers representing Damien and St. Lucy’s will utilize in a federal lawsuit they hope will prevent their clients’ athletic teams from being placed in leagues with parochial schools in the fall of 2014, according to San Gabriel Valley Tribune Staff Writer Aram Tolegian’s story. The decision was ostensibly based on competitive equity, something the schools’ lawyers find questionable when the obvious common thread is the schools’ religious affiliation.

The reasons cited for the lawsuits are one thing. The reasons Damien and St. Lucy’s would like to remain in their current arrangement is another.

Both are competitive in the Sierra League, but if forced to move in the fall of 2014, could land amongst a group of private schools with a reputation for a higher level of play in all sports. Apparently that level is high enough that the two schools – along with Westlake Village Oaks Christian and Ventura St. Bonaventure – are willing to take the CIF State, CIF-Southern Section and CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod to court.

The four schools’ lawyers made the same argument to a CIF-SS committee in March, but lost their appeals. Robert Prata, the lawyer representing Damien and St. Lucy’s, contends that the committee was biased, seeing as it was the same group that voted to place the schools in a parochial league in the first place.

“Nowhere in American jurisprudence is the entity that hears the appeal the same entity that already decided the matter from which the appeal has been taken,” Prata said. “CIF is mandated under the education code to provide a neutral appeals process. They never did. It was not a legitimate appeals panel.”

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  • Richard_Pietrasz

    If the CIF was forced to pay the extra travel costs of those schools, it would change its decision. I also see a major first amendment issue.

  • OuttaYourMindTrib

    Ayala is in the same boat being forced into the Baseline League. Going to a place it has no business being.