This is the story running in tomorrow’s paper, however I will not allow comments at this time.
Highly regarded junior shortstop/pitcher Jacob Shirley, who transferred from West Covina to South Hills high school over the summer, has been declared ineligible to play baseball for the Huskies this season.
CIF-Southern Section commissioner of athletics James Staunton handed down the ruling, explaining that Shirley’s transfer was “athletically motivated.”
Shirley’s family originally applied for a hardship according to Staunton, but later decided to move into the South Hills school district hoping to improve Shirley’s chances of becoming eligible. Staunton cited Rule 207 in the CIF Blue Book under Section C, under (3) and (4) as reasons for declaring Shirley ineligible. To continue reading, click thread
Shirley’s family has a right to appeal and go before a panel, which would be the same route Workman High School basketball player Cezar Guerrero took after transferring from St. John Bosco over the summer.
Guerrero was originally denied for similar reasons but later had it overturned after going before a panel through the appeal process.
The language in the CIF blue book that led to Shirley’s denial reads, “A transfer of a student from his or her current school of attendance with or without a corresponding change of residence to any high school where the student participates or participated during the previous 24 months on a non-school athletic team that is associated with the new school in the sports previously participated in shall be considered prima facie evidence (sufficient evidence) of undue influence/recruiting by the school to which the student transfers.”
Staunton also added.
“We have invoked the provisions of Rule 207 based on prima facie evidence upon the face of an ‘athletically motivated’ transfer given prior contact with a coach at South Hills,” Staunton said. “I had a long talk with his (Shirley’s) father who I’m sure is going to say it wasn’t athletically motivated.
“I’m not accusing the family of doing this but historically when you go back a few years, you have families that will call and ask how they can get their kids eligible. We’re trying to get away from this by invoking this rule, and we believe the rule applies in this case.”
While the South Hills baseball team advanced to last year’s Division III championship game, West Covina already had finished a miserable season, ending up 7-20 and last in the San Antonio league.
But Shirley was one of the lone bright spots for the Bulldogs, batting .425 with 23 RBI’s, 10 doubles and three home runs.
Shirley was also the starting quarterback at West Covina as a sophomore, and has not decided whether he will return his senior year and play football for the Huskies.
South Hills baseball coach Kevin Smith denies having any baseball-related prior contact with Shirley before his arrival at the school, and was obviously disappointed with CIF’s ruling. But Smith did not want to elaborate further, suggesting Shirley’s family would ultimately look at the appeal process.
“I feel bad for the kid and what it suggests about our school,” Smith said. “Now we’ve got this cloud hanging over our heads. There’s nothing more I can really say, we’ll see where it goes from here.”
Shirley’s family was unavailable for comment.