If only we knew if the punishment fit the crime, not at Santa Margarita, where mums the word; Even CIF, the governing body of high school sports, will not discuss the penalties

Let me get this straight, Santa Margarita High School officials agree that head football coach Harry Welch violated Southern Section undue influence rules by holding an open house at the athletic facility and has issued a self-imposed punishment, but principal Ray Dunne doesn’t feel it’s necessary to announce what the punishment is, nor will CIF step in and discuss the penalties. Why are we brushing punishments under the rug? This isn’t a private or personal matter, this is directly related to the actions of a football coach as it pertains to his team. It’s irresponsible for the school and CIF not to come clean on the penalties that come with violating rules infractions. Initially, Dunne wasn’t going to allow Welch to make a statement, then Welch released a statement on Wednesday, which was the least apologetic statement I’ve ever heard … To continue click thread.


“In planning of the event we used our best efforts to be transparent with the CIF, and to make this the community-based event it was intended to be, consistent with the rules,” Welch wrote. “I believe we followed the rules and the CIF’s guidance in planning and putting on an event which show-cased the academic, arts and athletic excellence of SMCHS. Unfortunately, the CIF disagreed. I do appreciate the CIF’s swift action in resolving the issue. This allows the boys to get on with the work of preparing for what I know will be an exciting and rewarding season without distraction.” Basically, Welch is saying he didn’t do anything wrong, even though the school and CIF is saying he did. What a messy, messy situation and P.R. nightmare. What I gather from this is that the school is not suspending Welch nor will it have any playoff implications, because if it did, the school would have to announce the penalties because they would be unavoidable. CIF has the power to step in and enforce a stronger penalty if it feels the school did not take action that is appropriate for the violation, but CIF is apparently satisfied with the punishment, which is fine, but why is CIF following the actions of the school and not revealing what the penalties are. If “integrity” is part of the CIF slogan, they’re clearly lacking some by not coming clean. How are we supposed to know what the penalties are for these infractions if CIF won’t discuss them with the over 500 schools that it represents? I understand that CIF allows the schools to self-impose, but that doesn’t mean they can’t issue a statement revealing what the punishments are, and why CIF deems it satisfactory. You can expect that from a private school, but not the governing body that represents all of high school sports.

Wrote the L.A. Times’ Eric Sondheimer: “It leaves me wondering if the Southern Section is really as powerless as it looks and why the Catholic schools always seem to hide behind a veil of secrecy.”

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  • Not surprised

    Funny when you’re talking about kids, especially in the SGV, CIF issues statemetns, make comments, hands out penalties. But now that this in Orange County where all their friends are, they brush it under the CIF floor, what an outrage. This should be clear, if a school violates a CIF Rule, then CIF HAS to announce the penalties, otherwise, how are schools supposed to know what penalties are for violating rules infractions. This is basic common sense. We’re not talking about a child molestation case, an arrest of a coach, or coaches fighting with students, we’re talking about violating CIF rules as it pertains to running a football team? For crying out loud, if CIF can’t announce what the penalties are for this, then what good are they? I agree, no integrity at all, please take that off the slogan.

  • Joe Amat

    The age old adage rings true “If you want the answer – follow the money” CIF has already been sued by Harry Welch, they know he’ll do it again. That threat of lawsuit is what keeps our Damien Spartans out of the Parochial re-Leaguing process, so CIF takes that threat very seriously and tries to avoid it anytime they can. We complain about how the economy in sports is affecting sports – but if CIF could eliminate the money spent on fighting frivolous suits they’d be in a lot better shape.

    In this particular instance, if CIF is really happy with the punishment, do we really care what it was? Does the public “have a right to know?” Anytime schools handle things “in-house” CIF prefers that. And we all know the issues surrounding Human Resources and what an employer can or can’t do.

    Now we’ll see how this “punishment” turns out.Back in the ’80s St Anthony HS did essentially the same thing in a year they played Amat in basketball. Both teams were highly ranked St Anthony was Amat’s only non-league loss and would have been a threat in the playoffs. But during the season the coach was found to have invited local basketball players and families to a game – and he was suspended for their 1st round playoff game… which they lost.

    The issue is having the “open house” isn’t wrong. A *coach* doing it for *athletes* is wrong. If they do the EXACT same thing but the *Principal* invited *students* it would have been fine.

    Semantics.

  • Double L

    Fred,

    What exactly did they do that was illegal? I’m lost?

  • Here’s your answer

    From the OC Register: Santa Margarita principal Ray Dunne confirmed the violation occurred March 31 when Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch held a football-emphasized open house at Santa Margarita. Such an open house is a violation of CIF-SS Rule 510, which deals with undue influence and recruiting.

  • Rules?

    Joe Amat

    I understand the situation and I guess they are taking care of it..

    But I have a question for you.

    Lets say a coach is training 8th graders in a particular sports and is being paid by the parents to provide the training? Is this a violation or luring the kid to attend the coaches school. And what if he/she trains the kid on school grounds?

    Also, what if the coach claims he isnt being paid, does it matter?

  • Joe Amat

    Rules?,

    What you describe is perfectly legal and it doesn’t matter where it occurs or whether the coach gets paid or not – go figure.

    As long as during the training there is no *Undue influence* Undue influence is any act,(including accepting material or financial inducement to attend a school which may be seen as an inducement, or part of a process of inducing a student, or his parents to enroll in, transfer to, or remain in, a particular school for athletic purposes.

    Under that definition it is entirely possible to *train* without any mention of attending the school or offering any “inducements.” The other issue people think is now in play is “Pre-Enrollment” contact when it comes to transfers. However, incoming 9th graders can enroll anywhere and don’t have to file CIF paperwork. *Transfers* file the paperwork and the school/player both must disclose the prior relationship within the prior24 months. So, say a coach trains an 8th grader, he goes somewhere else, then transfers as a sop. The 24 months is still in play and must be disclosed. Once it’s disclosed it becomes the transfers responsibility to prove the transfer is not athletically motivated – so in most cases that means “ineligible until proven eligible”

    Now the one “loop-hole” in the PEC Rule that I see CIF closing soon, is the rule reads “participating on a non- school athletic team,” in the previous 24 months and does not cover “personal trainers… although the implication is the same.

  • http://PLAYALLDAY PLAYALLDAY

    dont know about coach welch and rules he breaks, but having seen his varsity play twice last year and jv once, i can tell you they were the most coached up team i saw all year at any high school level, including mater dai, bishop amat, ghs, damion, chartor oak any of the local teams. this guy is amazing what he gets players to do on the field. surprised he is not coaching at next level. just a humble observation

  • SGaletti

    Harry Welch coached Canyon past Concord De La Salle for the state championship a few years back. Now he’s at a private school which is a plus for him in terms of talent. Yes, the guy can coach with the best of them.

  • Rules?

    Thanks Joe

    I know of some coaches training kids in the 7th and 8th grade. Its a two edged sword! Parents hoping to get in good with the coach and the coach hoping the kids will attend his school.

    Now I guess proving “Undue Influence” is hard, but the situation just seems wrong to me!

    Take Care

  • sgvfootballfan

    Fred
    I wonder if you would be writing this if it were South Hills or Bishop Amat on the hot seat.Its almost like your posting this just in case there’s a problem in the SGV.But I’m sure you wont post this blog anyway.

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