CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod talks about transfers

In the second part of the four-part series with CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod, the Long Beach Press telegram asks Wigod about transfers. “There’s a thought that the new rules would change the numbers of transfers, and that was never the issue,” says Wigod. “There’s going to be a lot of transfers every year — I call it the flood. The question is, do you manage it, or try to calm it down? For us to stop the numbers the rules would have to be made to be so much more restrictive. Politically, that’s not a direction we’re going to go in. So instead, you have to find a way to manage it and make it work.”

On the athletically motivated rule and how it’s interpreted ..
“We’re in an interesting spot,” says Wigod. “Our section voted clearly to get rid of that language — unfortunately, there wasn’t the support state-wide. Is every transfer athletically motivated? Well we get paperwork on every single student, so it obviously has something to do with athletics. We’re not naïve to believe that athletics aren’t a part of it. That’s why, by definition, it’s a case-by-case thing.”

When Wigod was introduced as CIF-SS commissioner in 2011, he was asked if he had a definition of what is an athletically motivation transfer. His short answer, “I do not.”

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  • Not So Fast My Friend

    Below is the exact reason why I’ve been saying the language “Athletically Motivated” is broad and ambiguous. More specific, categorically spaced language is more appropriate.

    “…says Wigod. “Our section voted clearly to get rid of that language — unfortunately, there wasn’t the support state-wide. Is every transfer athletically motivated? Well we get paperwork on every single student, so it obviously has something to do with athletics. We’re not naïve to believe that athletics aren’t a part of it. That’s why, by definition, it’s a case-by-case thing.”

    • FredJ

      You have to ask yourself, why isn’t there more support state wide to get rid of language that can’t be enforced fairly and gives most power to the schools, athletic departments and coaches, rather than parents? The schools could change the language, why don’t they?

      Because in my opinion, they want too much control over the child.

      And if you think the rule is enforced fairly, ask yourself one question, why is Jake Payton playing at Bonita, Kurt Scoby playing at Monrovia and Antonio Noodles Hull NOT playing at Diamond Bar.

      • AMAT 73

        Seems that e-mail from Hull’s dad was the knife in the heart in that case . Nothing surfaced at least by the Trib reporters to that effect from the Scoby or Payton camps I believe . Also what is this “ward of the state” that was getting tossed out there in the case of those 2 . Did SD not challenge the transfer to Bonita or was that not in effect due to them already challenging the transfer to Upland ???? The slime probably wanted to put everyting related to Asante behind them so why challege Scoby’s move . Those seem to be the questions needing answers to decipher why Scoby and Paton play and Hull doesn’t .

        • FredJ

          From what I understand, San Dimas did not challenge Payton’s transfer to Bonita like it did with Upland, which explains why he was immediately cleared to play.

          That sends a message to players like Antonio Hull that he should probably transfer to another school in hopes of playing, hoping West Covina doesn’t challenge the second time he leaves.

          As crazy as it sounds, that would be the quickest way for him to play immediately.

          Look, Wigod said it himself, by simply filing a transfer request with CIF for the purposes of gaining athletic eligibility proves a transfer is at least “in part” athletically motivated, which is supposedly all you need to show, “whole” or “in part” athletic motivation for an athlete to be declared ineligible.

          It would be great for CIF to interpret every athletic transfer request as “athletic motivation” — deeming them all ineligible. That would be the quickest way to make the schools change the language and eliminate the “case-by-case” scenarios that clearly favor some and are unfavorable to others.

          If Jake Payton suddenly leaving Upland after everything was in the press and out in the open and being declared eligible at Bonita less than a week after the transfer isn’t in part athletically motivated, what is? If CIF can’t enforce this knowing everything that it knows, what good is the rule?

          What you do is wind up punishing parents/children who are naive to the rule and write letters, as was the Hull situation, and reward those who know how to beat the system.

          It’s a terrible rule, which is why Wigod and CIF did not support it.

          I understand schools and CIF do not want kids transferring over and over again, ala, Kurt Scoby. But I could never understand why a student isn’t allowed at least ONE transfer during his/her high school career regardless of the circumstance.

          Is that too much to ask?

          Very few transfer more than once, so if you allowed every athlete at least ONE transfer over their four-year career, you would eliminate a lot of the headaches and take away unfair veto power from the school you’re attempting to leave.

          As it is now, you have a rule that is impossible to enforce fairly, which is why nobody can reason why Scoby and Payton should be allowed to play and Hull should not.

          • Food 4 Thought

            The Payton and Scoby transfers could not be denied on an athletic motivation charge because they are foster youth. Scoby’s transfers have been completely motivated by athletics and no one can deny that. The education code that the CIF member schools and CIF are mandated to follow make it very clear on what foster youth are to be given access to. The reason CIF was fighting Payton’s transfer to Upland after they knew he was a foster youth was because of Undue Influence from the 7v7 team, which is another rule that is a complete joke. Bonita Unified would have been facing a potential lawsuit for denying a foster youth’s rights had he not been allowed to play regardless of CIF’s decision.

          • FredJ

            Not sure where you get this stuff, but wasnt Payton a foster youth when he transferred to Upland and was denied?

          • FredJ

            Food, Payton was a foster youth when he transferred to Upland and was denied. I spoke with the CIF office about this, even if a family court orders or approves you to a certain school, you can still be denied athletic eligibility if the school you’re leaving from can prove it was athletically motivated. Nobody was asking the Bonita Unified to deny what you explain are a foster kids rights to attend a certain school, but once there, you have to live by the CIF rules like everyone else.

            In Kurt Scoby’s situation, he’s been eligible everywhere he’s gone because the school’s that he played for and left from, Charter Oak and St. Paul, never challenged him. It had nothing to do with court orders.

          • Food 4 Thought

            Then tell me why he wasn’t denied the second time when he transferred to Bonita? They still had the same information from the Upland transfer. On another note, is CIF saying they are above the law? If the court orders a foster youth to attend a different school that youth can not be denied eligibility.

          • FredJ

            From what I understand, San Dimas challenged his transfer to Upland for specific reasons, for whatever evidence it had for that particular school.

            When he transferred to Bonita, San Dimas would have had to submit paperwork all over again if they felt his move to Bonita also was athletically motivated.

            From what I understand from sources, I do not believe San Dimas challenged him the second time which is why he was probably cleared so quickly.

            My guess as to why San Dimas allegedly didn’t challenge is because after “shakegate” they probably just wanted to move on and put this behind them.

          • Food 4 Thought

            Because he is a foster youth. Please read carefully. Out of the education code of California.
            48853. If the educational liaison, in consultation with the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, agrees that the best interests of the foster child would best be served by his or her transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new school.

          • FredJ

            Your playing eligibility is still administered, as is in the language, by CIF. Once you’re enrolled. It’s asking you be given the same rights to extra curricular activities that all students enjoy, but you also have to follow the guidelines set forth by CIF. You don’t get a free pass.

          • Food 4 Thought

            Fred look at the last sentence of this section of the code.

            48850. In fulfilling their responsibilities to these pupils (foster youth), educators, county placing agencies, care providers, advocates, and the juvenile courts shall work together to maintain stable school placements and to ensure that each pupil is placed in the least restrictive educational programs, and has access to the academic resources, services, extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils, including, but not necessarily limited to, interscholastic sports administered by the California Interscholastic Federation.

          • Freddie,

            Back in the late ’90s students athletes were allowed one free transfer in their high school career if it was initiated before June 15th. That was very short lived and I’m not sure why it went by the wayside. That might be a good question to ask our buddy Thom Simmons. I kind of liked it, because it solved a few problems. If a kid left, the school didn’t get blindsided and had the summer to prepare a replacement, but it was limited and had some parameters. I would love to see that return. If a kid had to withdraw from School A by June 15 and register at School B by July 1 that would eliminate tons of problems.

      • Not So Fast My Friend

        Fred, exactly. It’s control over the athletes that are a part of their program. This is the reason why I used the little Johnny scenario. The 140lb defensive tackle that’s 4th on the depth chart and transfers for the chance or opportunity to play elsewhere – no coach is going to challenge that. Little Johnny’s transfer is athletically motivated, is it not? However, if the BMOC wants to transfer – then there’s a challenge filed. When we carve away all of this language fat and get to the bone it is nothing more than program protectionism.

        It shouldn’t matter if the kid wants to leave for a better chance at playing or a parent wanting to move their child for a better opportunity to get a scholarship. Last I checked, there is no contractual relationship between a student athlete and a high school, not even in private school. There is not even the implied existence of one. The problem CIF has is it’s transfer rules act like there is and the hammer is the “athletically motivated” language.

        As a result, Mr. Hull, dissatisfied with the way West Covina is using his child, or the coaching he’s receiving – whatever the reason, is and should be entitled to move his child to another program that’s more suitable. Even if he announces it beforehand in a letter (or email) to the coaching staff. He’s not contractually or legally bound to West Covina High School. I’m not trying to tick off West Co fans and followers, but at the heart of the matter that’s what it is.

        This is the same, in some shape and form, the root of the situation with Payton. His parents, or Jake himself, believes his opportunities to play at the next level are higher by transferring from San Dimas to Upland. What role does CIF have in telling him no he cannot transfer – and if he does (or did in his case) he’s ineligible? The CIF rulebook is the appointed judge set in place to benefit coaches and school administrators. Not protect or be the advocate for the student athlete. In some regards they are the Bud Light version of the NCAA.

        At the end this is nothing more than program protectionism at it’s finest.

        • Basic

          Why does the CIF ONLY protect the schools and not the students? Basically telling students, “You MUST play for me and no one else, period.” How is this even allowed?

          I can see the day when a family will actually sue stating that the CIF caused their child a scholarship and depending on the school, that is 200,000.00…

          • Not So Fast My Friend

            Totally agree. Two very good questions. And I totally agree. A parent, with the resources, sooner or later is going to sue the CIF and they’re going to win.

          • OuttaYourMindTrib

            CIF = California INTERSCHOLASTIC Federation. Nothing in that title states or even implies student care. It’s not about the kids, it’s NEVER been about the kids. Like the NCAA it is about self preservation amid declining relevance. Plain and simple.

          • Basic

            So basically CIF is making my child stay at the school or else suffer the consequences, and in some cases this means losing a scholarship (200K), regardless of what the school or coaching staff do? Let’s not even go to the extreme and say there is abuse going on at the school but let’s say in my child’s junior year they get a new coach and this coach changes systems and limits my child’s exposure, my child brings it up to the coach, the coach has a big ego over reacts and benches him, but because of the rules in place my child cannot transfer to a new school (athletically motivated) his senior year and therefore loses his
            chance to play at the next level, not only play at the next level but more importantly his chance at a higher education. In what other place is this looked on like a good idea or a good rule? This is why I say that we are not far away from the time that a family with means will sue and win, and only then will people pay attention and make drastic changes.

  • reality

    This column is a big fat swing and miss. Typical political rhetoric that says nada. ” I just do what the schools tell me to do.” Where’s the leadership, where does the buck stop? No wonder no one knows whats going on over there, if the leaders don’t who does???

  • Wells

    Fred’s idea would work wonders. One move with the player living at the same residence.
    CIF is not a thinking organization. They create rules that are fair for all and they follow them exactly as written…unless they are not written very clearly.
    The three local transfers (two that were allowed and the one that was not allowed) shows the absurdity of their decisions. It also shows the petty behavior of those in power to challenge a player’s desire to switch schools.

    What makes the decisions even more absurd is that fact that the player is declared ineligible after he has enrolled on the new campus. What teenager is going to want to return to a former school to play a sport? More importantly, what coach would truly welcome back a player that attempted to transfer?

    Just make it simple. One transfer – no one has to think.

    • WCDan

      Your assumption of petty behavior is as hypocrical as the trib only giving one side of the story and assuming that the transfer was not signed by WC because they were being vindictive. Just like you and everyone else on here, I was not there, but my personal belief, from the evidence and what I have heard is there was undue influence, It was well talked about at WC that there was an effort to get more players to transfer over, Richard Collins and Sydney Jones along with Noodles and a couple others were the names that I heard were being influenced to transfer. Jones stayed, Collins, who ia a solid skill player, went with Noodles, look on the DB roster. I got no problem at all with a coach not going out of his way for the perpatrators of undue influence, whoever it was that was doing the influencing.

      • Bill

        Wcdan, your lingo is getting old. Plain and simple west co was vindictive and look the other way when they receive transfers. A joke

      • What a parrot

        WCDan thinks that if he keeps saying it long enough sooner or later people will believe him and his butt hurt, vindictive coaching staff at WC. Now can someone please give Polly…err Dan a cracker so that he can say it again?

      • Wells

        WCDan — You must not grasp basic facts. Every transfer is athletically motivated. If you think differently, you are delusional. We are not talking about a freshmen who enters a school out of district because they have an IB program. These are young men that had already played at least a full season for the previous school. Using the Payton example, he was enrolled at Upland, deemed ineligible, then transferred to Bonita (to play football).
        My point was that a school that has received numerous transfers then challenges the transfer of one of their ex-players is just bad form. Remember, they went through the same process just a few years ago.

        • WCDan

          Wells I get that most transfers are athletically motivated
          thats not the point I was making.

      • FredJ

        Dan, my comments weren’t an attack on West Covina, I was making suggestions to get rid of the athletic motivation rule

        • WCDan

          Wasn’t really directing my comment at you Fred, with what happened to Noodles, I don’t like the athletically motivated rule either, my comment was more towards the idea that pettiness or athletic motiveation was the reasons for the WC staff not signing off, there were other factors involved, yet only one side was presented in Arams origional article. The evidence is a lot clearer now that people other than Noodles were being lured away from the WC program, just look on the max preps DB roster and you’ll see the name of Richard Collins, who was our third runningback behind Love and Best. So there was more to the situation that caused the WC staff to not sign off, I wasn’t there, you or Aram weren’t there, nobody on here was there, yet no one bothered to get the WC side of the situation before the article was printed and judgements were made, Now you got different characters on here taking pot shots, it’s ok though cause the good of the WC program will keep moving on and developing good young men.
          @ What a parrot,
          Is that you brown stain? You gonna follow me all your life?

      • Not So Fast My Friend

        If there is an allegation of undue influence, then why is the only person being held accountable the student athlete? The charge or complaint should be against the school who utilized “undue influence.” Not saying it happened it Hulls case or even Payton’s because I – like you or most people posting – we weren’t the fly on the wall.

        This is not a squabble here, but we’re punishing the kid and only the kid?

        Let the kid leave and file the complaint with CIF against the influencing program.

  • Steve Ramirez

    From my view, CIF-SS, and the CIF State office, needs to come with a rule that’s now so great. Pick a sit-out period, whether it be 1 day, 30, a calendar year, whatever, and say if you transfer you have to sit out that amount of time. PERIOD! Yes, sometimes things happen in life, but that’s where things fall under the life is tough format. This would be it out of the hands of any decision making or trying to figure out what’s legit and what’s not. You do it, this is the rule.

    • Basic

      Why make it a time period, why not say you lose 25% of the season in whichever sport, not including playoffs because they are not guaranteed, but 25% of the season period.