If Mater Dei wants to challenge whether it’s constitutional for the CIF to deny eligibility because a student transferred for athletic reasons, bring it on. That’s a legitimate, worthy debate. But the suit filed last week is pure fantasy.
Sondheimer also wrote: One of the athletes involved, Todd Hunt, a transfer from a school in Connecticut, has a CIF appeal hearing scheduled for Tuesday. He has been seeking a hardship waiver of transfer rules, and his story is sad and compelling. He had a brother stabbed to death. The police chief in his hometown of Norwalk, Conn., has written a letter indicating that Hunt’s life could be in jeopardy if he returned to the area. That’s a clear hardship to me. But Hunt moved in with the family of Mater Dei quarterback Max Wittek, who he knew in Connecticut, and I assume Staunton decided it was an athletically motivated decision.
Robledo: This is one of my beef’s with the “athletically motivated” rule and how CIF interprets it. I’m assuming CIF felt Hunt’s move was in “part” athletically motivated because he knew the QB from his hometown and moved in with him. But shouldn’t the fact his brother was killed and the police chief is on record saying his life could be in danger if he remained outweigh whether or not CIF believes it’s an athletically motivated transfer? Now, don’t feel sorry for Mater Dei, but these decisions by CIF continue to amaze. Not surprising is the letter below, CIF upset than anyone would dare challenge one of their decisions. It’s about time, it’s not about knowing what the policies are, as Staunton states, it’s about how CIF chooses to enforce and interpret them is what upsets so many schools. Staunton also suggests the section is available to hear any complaints or allegations. The problem is sometimes is takes forever for CIF to set hearing dates, so the kids suffer on the sidelines without their day in court. Well, now, Mater Dei has sped up that process, what’s wrong with that?
CIF issues a press release as it relates to the lawsuit: The CIF Southern Section office expresses its disappointment at the filing of a lawsuit by the Diocese of Orange contending unfair treatment of Mater Dei High School. “Mater Dei has been a long standing member of CIF-Southern Section and is clearly aware of our policies,” stated CIF Southern Section Commissioner Dr. Jim Staunton. “If Mater Dei had concerns about eligibility decisions, they had several channels of communication to express those concerns. Why they did not exercise their options as members is baffling.” The Section maintains open lines of communication with all member schools including Mater Dei High School yet this lawsuit is the first indication of any dissatisfaction of the application of the rules. During the history of the organization including the sixty years Mater Dei High School has been a member of CIF-Southern Section, the rules have been enforced and applied without prejudice or malice against any of its members. The Section is confused that one of the most successful school athletic programs in the Section would make a claim of disproportionate treatment by the organization. The Office is available to hear any complaints or allegations, as is the Southern Section Executive Committee, yet the Diocese of Orange has filed this suit without prior communication to the Southern Section Office. “While the CIF-SS never wishes to be involved in litigation with one of our member schools, we look forward to demonstrating the fair and equal application of our rules on behalf of all our membership,” added Staunton.