The controversy surrounding the Muir High School boys basketball team’s disqualification from the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs is far from over.
According to sources, the Pasadena Unified School District has placed Muir coach Gamal Smalley on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation surrounding the program having to forfeit 20 victories after the use of an ineligible player, thus eliminating the No. 5 seeded Mustangs from playoff contention.
Smalley on Wednesday afternoon was escorted off campus by assistant principal Charles Park and asked to turn in his keys before immediately meeting with district officials at headquarters.
Muir principal Sheryl Orange and athletic director Robert Galvan could not be reached for comment. Smalley did not return repeated voice mails and text messages left on his cell phone seeking comment.
Smalley also has been instructed not to have contact with his players or team parents and, according to sources, is expected to speak with an independent investigator hired by the district.
Smalley has compiled a 76-30 record in three seasons at the helm, leading the Mustangs to a Division 5AA finals run lastas year. Muir was the only public school listed in the final Division 4AA top 10 poll. It was 24-2 at season’s end, ranked in the top 50 and poised to make a run in the so-called “Super Division”.
But word came the week leading up to the Mustangs’ season finale that the program was under review after the CIF-SS contacted Muir about possible ineligebility concerns surrounding Andre Frazier. The prominent 6-foot-5 forward had previously attended Fairfaix, University High of Los Angeles and Bell-Jeff. At issue was whether there was a valid change of address after transferring from Fairfaix.
School officials made a frantic effort providing documentation, but it proved to be insufficient. School officials exhausted every option that included the application for an at-large berth, which was denied by the CIF-SS.
Orange issued a statement saying that “a valid change of residence could not be sufficiently established” and that as a result “Muir decided to forfeit the games.” When the Pacific League re-submitted its final league standings, Muir was not included.
Frazier has since transfered back to Fairfax.