Here’s my column from Friday, in case some of you non-print folks missed it.
There’s probably a lot of you walking around the Valley scratching your heads this week.
When Bishop Amat High School tight end Brock Booth was ruled eligible this week by CIF, it put the cherry on top of a situation that began just more than a month ago and was dubbed Transfergate in this office.
It began with the news that South Hills informed CIF that it believed the transfers of Booth to Amat and receiver Chris Gilchrist to Charter Oak were athletically motivated, setting in motion a chain of events none of us are any better off for.
Both players were ruled immediately ineligible to play this season. Not because CIF is evil, but because CIF is obligated to protect Amat and Charter Oak from using a player who may later be ruled ineligible, thus costing the teams any wins they may have had.
After their respective appeal processes, both players had their eligibility restored at their new schools. In Booth’s case, it meant going before a state appeals panel because the Southern Section still ruled him ineligible after Booth’s camp made its first appeal for eligibility. What the state appeals panel saw that the Southern Section didn’t is beyond me.
If you’re not hanging out right now on Fairgrove Avenue or Covina Boulevard, you’re probably perplexed how this happened.
If you’re hanging out on Cameron Avenue across the street from a golf course, you’re probably mapping out a way to secede from the Southern Section.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself if you’re one of the many who are upset by the whole process and its final outcome.
Don’t blame CIF. Don’t blame Bishop Amat, Charter Oak or South Hills. Blame yourself if through the years you’ve been one of the hundreds of thousands of people who said, “CIF needs to do something about all these transfers.”
Well, CIF did. And they did it not because commissioner Jim Staunton, assistant commissioner Rob Wigod and information director Thom Simmons got together for dinner one night and decided to bang out a constitution.
CIF did it because that’s what you wanted.
There’s a common misconception that CIF makes the rules. They don’t. CIF merely upholds the rules that the member schools make up. And because there’s been an undercurrent of disgust from the public over the rampant transfers of student-athletes in recent decades, what you have today is a tightening of policy that creates the head-scratching results many fans are dealing with this week.
When Gilchrist and Booth were first ruled ineligible for the upcoming season by the Southern Section, it was time to score one for the old-school crowd that hates transfers.
But now that Gilchrist and Booth are eligible, who do you score one for? Uh … Bishop Amat? Charter Oak? Maybe, but only for the time being.
Score one for the process? CIF’s Simmons thinks so.
“I think it looks great,” Simmons said. “To me, it shows the process worked.”
Well, I choose none of the above. I say score one for reality. This is the pathetic prep sports world we leave in, and my best advice to you is that you either join the rest of us who deal in reality, or have fun continuing to swim upstream.
This isn’t the 1970s anymore. Parents are delusional. Kids are prima donnas.
Coaches are egotistical. Sports writers are gluttons. We’ve all got blame.
Doesn’t make any of us bad people.
Some of our biggest problems in politics today are because half the country doesn’t want to see the country for how it truly is, but rather how they want it to be.
When you legislate from the “how I want it to be” side, you’re dead on arrival. I’ve got news for those of you in that camp as it pertains to this particular issue: transfers are here to stay. To police them is impractical, because you can’t police a person’s will. History proves that it leads to disaster.
If parents and their kids want to roll the dice despite the lottery odds that Little Johnny is going to get a scholarship due to his transfer, then let ‘em. You never hear about the 98 percent where it doesn’t work out.
Over the last month, there have been a lot of relationships taxed because of this situation, and where are we at the end of the day? Right back at square one, with Booth eligible to play tight end at Amat and Gilchrist shagging balls out of the sky at Charter Oak.
It is what it is.