By Aram Tolegian
South Hills High School athletic director Paul Reed confirmed Monday night that the school has filed a protest with the CIF Southern Section office in regard to the transfers of sophomore running back Aaren Vaughns and junior wide receiver Chris Gilchrist. Reed said that South Hills is alleging that the transfers were athletically motivated and should not be allowed. The protests were made in late July at the same time South Hills also protested the transfer of Brock Booth to Bishop Amat. CIF denied Booth eligibility until April of 2011, thus costing the senior his final chance to play prep football. (To continue reading, click thread).
South Hills is still deciding whether to challenge the transfer of linebacker Randall Varela to Amat. Varela is vying for a starting position at defensive end and Booth was locked in a battle for tight end with sophomore Sal Velasquez, a transfer from Los Altos. Booth started at tight end last Friday in Amat’s Blue/Gold scrimmage.
“We have nothing against the kids,” Reed said. “If all three of them can’t play, it’s going to be a tragedy for them. But really, it’s not our fault. We haven’t done anything but make CIF aware of the situation.”
South Hills was on the other end of the spectrum last year at this time when the eligibility of Duarte transfers Jordan Canada and Jamie Canada were denied because CIF deemed their moves to be athletically motivated. Reed contends the CIF rule is flawed and that’s a major reason why the school is standing in the way of Vaughns, Gilchrist and Booth’s transfers.
“Undue influence is not a factor, to us, in any of these cases,” Reed said. “We do not feel that Amat or Charter Oak reached out to any of these kids. We just feel that everybody needs to play by the same rules. To us (Vaughns and Gilchrist) it’s clearly athletically motivated. I was personally standing there when Vaughns’ dad said he was taking the kids to Charter Oak because he was unhappy here.”
Due to him being a freshman last year, Vaughns is able to transfer and maintain eligibility so long as there’s a valid change of address. But Reed believes that rule will be trumped if the transfer is deemed to be athletically motivated.
The Southern Section said it still had not received any transfer request forms from Charter Oak for Vaughns or Gilchrist as of late last week.
In Booth’s case, CIF originally granted him eligibility until South Hills challenged the transfer. Booth is going to challenge the decision, according to Amat coach Steve Hagerty.
“I talked to him today and I don’t think as far as he’s concerned it’s a final matter,” Hagerty said. “I don’t understand how it all works, but it would be disappointing for the young man more so than for us because he’s worked so hard.
“We reduced his reps today and gave more reps to other kids. Brock’s a great kid. He understands what’s going on and went out there today and practiced just as hard as ever. I don’t know enough about what’s going on at South Hills to comment about it. It’s not my place to say whether they’re doing the right or wrong thing. I’m sure it’s worked both ways and they’ve benefited from kids who went to their school for the right reason.”
Reed acknowledged that South Hills protesting the transfers breaks ranks with the school’s policy in such matters under previous principal Judi North, who retired after the ’09-10 school year.
“If it would have been up to me, I think we would have challenged (transfers) in the past,” Reed said. “But they decided if a student didn’t want to be at South Hills, then they didn’t want me to write a letter. This current administration thinks that everyone should follow the rules and if we’re a kid is leaving for athletic reasons, we’re going to challenge it.
Reed acknowledged that he’s aware that some fans will view South Hills as being hypocritical in this or allege the Huskies are being sour grapes because the Canada decision went against them last year, but he’s quick to point out that the CIF rules have changed and so has school policy under new principal Steve James.
“It’s a different world now,” Reed said. “Athletically motivated transfers wasn’t even in the rule book a few years ago. The rule everyone concerned themselves with then was undue influence (recruiting). We don’t think it’s accurate to look at the transfers we didn’t challenge in the past few years because it’s a totally different climate.
“Before we did anything, we met with our new principal and told him where Coach (Steve) Bogan is at on this and he said ‘I will support this as high as you want to take it.'”