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.”