By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Two-time defending CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division champion West Covina has forfeited Friday’s season-opening 34-0 victory over Covina after discovering one of its football players did not have a valid change of address after transferring from Bishop Amat.
West Covina athletic director Brian Murphy did not want to name the junior who played limited minutes in Friday’s victory, but after the discovery was brought to his attention on Monday, Murphy informed Covina that his school would forfeit the game.
“I feel absolutely terrible about it,” Murphy said. “We thought it was a valid change of address when it was turned in to us, but we learned today it was not.
“We should have done a better job, and (head coach) Mike (Maggiore) feels terrible because he doesn’t want the integrity of his program taking a hit.”
West Covina officials explained that it believed it was a valid change of address and turned the paperwork over to CIF-Southern Section officials.
However, it learned Tuesday the change of address was not valid.
School sources explained the player changed residences, but both parents didn’t change residences, which needs to be explained in the transfer paperwork for the
CIF-SS to make a decision.
CIF-SS spokesperson Thom Simmons said he could not comment on the the forfeit until it is officially filed with the section office.
The section passed a new 30-day sit-out period for transfers that would basically allow any transfer in the fall season to be eligible to compete with its new team on Oct. 1.
However, if the section learns a player falsified his or her paperwork when applying for a valid change of address, it could suspend the player for a much longer period of time.
It is not known whether that will apply in this case or whether the player will simply have to sit out until Oct. 1.
“When we have more information, we’ll share it with you.” Simmons said.
West Covina (0-1) is preparing to host Pac-5 power Loyola on Friday at 7 p.m., in hopes of avenging the only loss on its schedule a year ago.
Obviously, it was a tough pill for Maggiore to swallow, especially on his birthday, Tuesday.
“It’s upsetting, it hasn’t been a good day,” Maggiore said. “Practice has been therapeutic, but what bothers me is I don’t want people in the community to think we’re doing the wrong thing. Character and integrity is more important to me than anything else. It’s an embarrassing thing, but we’ll move past it.”
Maggiore added his third title to his resume last year and the success has resulted in transfers wanting to join the Bulldogs program.
“That’s a result of our success and the stability of our coaching staff,” Maggiore said. “What happened today is a big deal to me. We’ve worked hard to do the right thing. We’re not a school out there recruiting kids or doing illegal things to get them in our school.”