Several athletes expected to sign on Wednesday You’re all invited in for a group picture

In the past whenever we have players signing national letters of intent we try to send photographers to the school, but with a list this large it’s impossible to be everywhere. What I’ve done in recent years is invite the athletes to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune office to take a group picture that we can celebrate on the front page of sports on Thursday. This is the fairest way to satisfy everyone, so all athletes on the list below are invited here Wednesday at 2 p.m., for a group shot. I will call your coaches to notify them, but you can also email me if you have questions. Please wear something indicating your college of choice. If there are athletes signing that I missed, please email me at so that you can be included.

The November 2009 signing class below

Those expected to sign national letters of intent on Wednesday, Nov. 10, the early signing period.

Boys Basketball
C.J. Cooper, La Verne Lutheran, UTEP
Bruce English, La Verne Lutheran, Loyola Marymount
Girls Basketball
Taylor Anderson, Bonita, Loyola Marymount
Nicole Zugasti, Cal State Dominguez Hills
Courtney Gano, Los Altos, University of Washington
Breeana Sandoval, Bonita, Cal State Bakersfield
Stephanie La Rosa, Diamond Bar, UCLA
Samantha Nieves, South Hills, Middle Tennessee State
Girls Volleyball
Ashley Maxfeldt, Bonita, Loyola Marymount
Jasmine Russell, Los Altos, Wake Forrest
Megan Callen, St. Lucy’s, University of North Florida
Alissa Young, St. Lucy’s Sacred Heart University
Deanna Dalton, St. Lucy’s, West Point (Army)
Jordyn Siko, Chino Hills, CS Bakersfield
Kellie Finneran, Chino Hills, Bridgewater College, Virginia
Amanda Brown, Los Altos, Eastern Washington
Andrea Grant, Walnut, Brigham Young University
Gretchen Jaques, Glendora, University of Texas
Kenny Mathews, Diamond Bar, Cal State Fullerton
Rouric Bridgewater, Diamond Ranch, Arizona State
Jordan McCraney, Bishop Amat, USC
Seby Zavala, Bishop Amat, San Diego State
Adrian Franco, Bishop Amat, San Diego State
Matt Munoz, San Dimas, San Diego State
Jonathon Munoz, Diamond Bar, UC Irvine
Adam McCreery, Bonita, Azrizona State
Antonio Gonzalez, Damien, UC Riverside
Joe Chavez, Damien, UC Riverside
Jackie McCartin, San Dimas, University of Washington
Girls Golf
Mako Wang, Los Altos, UNLV
Remontay McClain, Covina, Azusa Pacific

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  • AJ

    Any news on if/where Jay Anderson of Amat is signing? Just curious because he chouse to focus on baseball instead of football.

  • Joe Amat

    1st, BIG Congratulations to all the athletes who have been deemed worthy of college scholarships. As you know, it is always a big day here on campus at Amat. As you may not know, one of our former Amat legends, Ramogi Huma, has continued to fight for NCAA student-athletes long after his playing career has ended when he founded the National College Players Association

    I wanted to take some time to share the, sometimes one-sided arrangement between the NCAA and its student-athletes that occurs BEFORE student-athletes get on campus. As always – get educated and make your decisions later.

    The following is from another advocate of student athletes that is well worth reading:

    The National Letter of Intent Sucks!
    This Wednesday, November 10th, is National Signing Day for college basketball and several other sports. Accepting an athletic scholarship is a huge deal. Unfortunately, the hype and media attention surrounding National Signing Day overshadows the actual agreement, the National Letter of Intent.

    Most athletes (and their families) are thrilled to end the recruiting process and accept a guaranteed (or so they are led to believe) 1-year athletic scholarship.

    College sports can be great in many ways, but the NLI shows just how lopsided the relationship between athlete and institution really is.

    There at least 10 reasons why the NLI sucks. Reading the NLI and listening to the decades-old spin from the NCAA community, it reminds me of the fraternity initiation (er, whipping) from Animal House. “Thank you, sir! May I have another?”

    1) “Know the rules…before you sign”

    The first thing you see on the NLI website is that statement, which is like telling taxpayers, “Learn the IRS tax code.” Even if you know everything, you still have pay taxes. For athletes and their families, even if they know the NLI and NCAA rules cold, almost every recruit will still sign the dadgum thing. The most galling part of the NLI website is that it lists the “many advantages to both prospective student-athletes and participating educational institution.” If you say something enough times, you start to believe it. Or so do others.

    2) Scholarships are for 1-year, but schools have a 4-year “hold” on athletes
    Crazy, but true. Scholarships are granted for one year. After that they can be revoked for any reason, including poor athletic performance. If a player signs the NLI and then changes his mind, he can ask to be released from the NLI, but good luck if the program still wants him. After that, if he wants to transfer, the school still has the power to dictate which schools the player can transfer to. If you really want to figure out how this all works and you have 6 months to devote to intense study, I recommend reading the NCAA Transfer Guide.

    3) It totally misrepresents reality

    Provision 19 stipulates that athletes are signing with school, not athletic program, even if the actual recruiting process reflects the opposite. Yes, we want athletes to factor the school into their decisions, but every dollaror thousandan athletic department invests to sign a player signals just the opposite. Kentucky coach John Calipari, who is one of the few coaches willing to put his money where his mouth is (more on that later), once said: “Kids come and go to programs in most cases because of the coach. We can say that’s not the case and they’re supposed to sign at the school, but let’s be real. They want to play for the coach.”

    4) The NLI is unconscionable

    And that’s not hyperbole. Peter Rush, a lawyer who represented Jeremy Bloom in his lawsuit against the NCAA, told Seth Davis that the NLI could be challenged on the basis that it is “unconscionable,” which is a contract that “did not result from real bargaining between parties who had freedom of choice and understanding and ability to negotiate in a meaningful fashion.” Of course, someone has to sue the deep-pocked schools to prove.

    5) Contracts signed by minors are voidable

    Minors (under 18 years of age) cannot sign a legally valid contract. The NLI circumvents this legal hurdle by requiring a parent or guardian sign as well. Lawyers I’ve consulted believe minors who sign the NLI have a good case to void their NLI, but how many will 1) want to back out and 2) have the financial resources to sue?

    6) Yeah, right the NLI is a voluntary

    Technically, the NLI is a voluntary program. In 2007, the NCAA’s Susan Peal, the director of the NLI, told Seth Davis: “Parents call me all the time [with questions], and I tell them hey, you don’t have to sign the NLI. The coach will give you an athletics aid agreement, which has to accompany the NLI anyway. Now, will institutions let you do that? Maybe not, but it’s worth asking the question.” Wishful thinking.

    7) No side agreements

    In 2008, Xavier Henry and Nolan Dennis signed the NLI with the University of Memphis back when John Calipari was coach. When Henry and Dennis signed the NLI, they we’re given letters from the school’s athletic director (presumably with Calipari’s blessing) stating that they would be automatically released if Calipari left for another school. That’s the right thing to do. And that’s what Memphis did. Of course, the NCAA membership caught on to these shenanigans. In 2009, it made the NLI even worse by adding that any side agreements to “release the prospect in case of a coaching change or other circumstances” are “null and void.”

    8) Commitment subject to admission into college

    The NLI guarantees an athlete a one-year athletic scholarship (grant-in-aid), but it provides athletic departments with wiggle room: The NLI is subject to the athlete being admitted into the university. It’s not like that NLI puts that in bold.

    9) Top recruits have leverage, but rarely use it

    Top 50 recruits–the program changers–have the leverage to dictate the terms of their enrollment. If a blue-chip recruit tells a coach, “I’ll commit to your program, but I’m not going to sign the NLI,” how many coaches will say, that’s not good enough? If John Wall, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant or any other top recruit refused to sign the NLI, their coaches will keep a scholarship available. And if more recruits started doing this, there would be strength in numbers.

    10) Protecting the school’s investment

    The real reason schools offer the NLI is they want to protect its investment in their program. WIth millions at stake, the last thing a college coach wants is to live and die by the whims of a teenager. Fair enough. I’ve always said, I’m not against the NLI. I’m against its onerous provisions. Rewrite it so that is fair to both parties–and I’ll be the first one to endorse it.

    Final words: Enough’s enough. I’ve written about the NLI many times in the past. And players continue to sign. Many basketball writers, including Seth Davis, Dan Wetzel and Mike DeCourcy have also written passionately against signing. Maybe this will be the year a few players refuse to sign. There’s definitely strength in numbers. Stay tuned.

    –Marc Isenberg

    Good luck to all. Knowledge is power. The Scholarship/Athletics Aid Agreement protect the player. The NLI is a bit one-sided. Protect yourself and look out for you. And take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given and make sure you get a meaningful educational experience.

  • whitey

    Hey Joe!(visions of Jimis opening line!) I have no sympathy for 90% of the “victims” in your post, after all look at the sport to which it mostly affects, mens basketball, the graduation rates of mens BB is miniscule to zero at many schools and just look at the sleazeballs that run rampant in that sport, Sonny Vacarro and other similar “characters”, the shoe companies, the multi-million dollar coaches, the NBAs ridiculous stand,NBA agents, the University presidents themselves and of course all the gravy train riding do-gooders,hangers on,family members and “friends” “advisors” and “associates” at least the University brass have so far stood strong against selling the remaining portion of their soul to the football playoff fraud, imagine the graduation rates when the season extends into January for 16 teams, at least now FB is a 1 semester sport and many schools are 80% or more, if they overlap into another semester , what 40-50%…..I think the NLI can be eliminated, replaced with the actual acceptance by the university and a financial agreement, guaranteeing four years at whatever % or a full ride, with the student/athlete being held to a reasonable academic progress towards a degree,………. has anyone ever heard of student athletes in the womens sports or mens “minor” sports being exploited? of how the system for swimmers,golfers,water polo players et al is rigged against them? I haven’t ! the service academies and the Ivy League schools have done a great job of dealing fairly with student athletes, of course their kids actually are students first, athletes second, what a novel idea, sometimes in life, you can’t pound a square peg into a round hole, unless you cheat(cutting corners) best of luck to all the student athletes on 11/10

  • Hank

    Joe Amat,

    I agree with what was said in that article.

    I’ve followed recruiting vigorously for over 15 years.

    I’ve had the luxury of talking to kids that’ve had the opportunity to accept athletic scholarships.

    Yes, athletic scholarships are on a year-to-year basis. Rarely is it ever pulled without a valid reason. This would make the program look bad to potential recruits.

    I’ve always said, “Never, never, never”, choose a university because of a coach. Coaches easily come and go. My best advice would be, choose a school you’d be happy with even if you weren’t playing sports. This is a good way of looking at their choice because at times, injuries do occur and may end their athletic careers.

  • St. Lucy’s Soccer

    Does this include soccer? (I thought soccer signing is Feb 2nd).

    Carly Pennington (St. Lucy’s Goalie)-USC

  • Proud Papa

    My son is on the list of athletes that will be signing a NLI on Wednesday to attend a Div. 1 school. I am proud of my son and of the other athletes. Each of these student/athletes have worked hard in and out of the classroom. Their hardwork has payed off in the form of a scholarship. They have dedicated themselves to be the best they can be and for that they have been rewarded. Congratulations to all of you.

  • FredJ

    No, list does not include soccer, you’re right, soccer players sign in February along with football

  • Lut Fan

    said: This us a very special day for all the above athletes that work hard both in the classroom and on the field and court,congrats to all! Special congrats to both Cj Cooper (UTEP} and Bruce English (LMU) for representing both La Verne Lutheran and the San Gabriel valley,much success to the upcoming season!

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