Could CCS face a Grand Jury Investigation?

The   2008-2009 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury issued a scathing report to school districts related to spending on compensation packages . Noticeably absent from the report was attention to spending incurred by school boards related to their  legal costs and  the costs associated with providing athletics to high school students . Issues that concerned the Grand Jury back in 2008 are far more prevalent in CCS finances and place significantly greater financial burdens on member schools than the issues discussed in the 2008-2009 report.

As members of CIF/CCS,  school districts are required to follow certain rules and to pay both membership fees and additional assessments .   Each year CIF and CCS costs have  escalated and the boards and committees charged with overseeing these costs have failed to keep them in check.  Legal fees, accounting fees and staff costs have continued to increase solely to defend poor practices,  policies  and potentially criminal behavior. Additionally, CIF / CCS appear to have blank checks related to their legal and professional fees which are ultimately charged back to member schools via assessments. Continuing to increase office expenses, salaries and professional costs during these unprecedented economic times is not only  fiscally irresponsible ,  it is  morally wrong and in some cases may be criminal.

In addition to the direct financial burdens   CIF/ CCS membership places on member schools  , districts also  face  indirect costs that can be imposed  when conflicts of interest are present  that cause schools to violate civil, state or federal laws. We have found substantial evidence that to be in good standing with CIF/CCS , significant conflicts of interest exist that ultimately force schools to violate laws , incur additional legal expenses and potentially  provide for  loss of public funding.

Finally,  if the structure and managment  of CIF/CCS allows for  misconduct such that sexual, psycological  or physical abuse may occur to  minor children as they pursue educatiuon and athletics, it must be addressed. CCS Watchdog has evidence that the structure and management of CCS in recent years has provided for such abuse and continues to do so.

At least three complaints are in the process of being filed with the Grand Jury in Santa Clara and Monterey Counties.   From the evidence that has been provided, CCS watchdog believes these complaints have merit and can serve a greater good if properly addressed.

Does CCS allow an abusive culture in high school sports similar to the culture found at Penn State and Syracuse?

How many more people will come forward? Once it starts, the tide may change. We hope the media holds on and rides this one as it is far more important than Ashton  and Demi .

Conversations are  changing in college athletic programs across the country. Universities and coaches who have created a toxic culture for generations are starting to realize the school’s reputation is far more valuable than the income earned by a successful football program. Sadly it may be money that drives the issue, but at least it will be driven.  Schools that  have insisted for years that students don’t cheat , have been cheating our students. Where else in society do we see a person strike another, abuse a minor or make false statements to damage our youth and we say nothing?  The culture is toxic ,  tolerated and perpetuated by  adults failing to act in the best interest of our youth.   Laws, rules and government will not change things for the better; people will.

We have been contacted by a member of the public seeking to report  abuse and misconduct involving minor children competing   in high school  sports programs here in the Central Coast Section. CCS was asked how a complaint could be filed. The CIF/CCS website offered few options other than for  Title IX or Civil Rights violation. It is known that CCS has had an opportunity to take other action against individuals at the center of the complaint, but failed to do so in the past. The policies online were  incomplete and failed to address specifics like how to file a complaint, what is the policy to deal with a complaint and how is retaliation prevented and a neutral process assured? What policy assures a  complaint reaches the entire governing body and is not gate kept by those who may  be involved or have failed to act in the past? Public high schools have an obligation to report-  what is CCS’s legal and moral obligation? What is the standard policy of CCS officials when a complaint is filed or knowledge of misconduct  becomes known.? The same questions were asked when the Penn State issues emerged.  It was hoped that in asking questions now, action would be taken to  prevent or stop a system that by nature creates an environment where abuse can take place off radar and is in fact tolerated by adults who continually fail to act or act badly.

First CCS hired lawyers to object to requests citing various reasons.  Member schools will pay for the legal fees CCS committed just to respond.  No formal policy to file the complaint was offered, nor appears to exist.   When pressed, CCS responded a complaint could be mailed to  a single individual within CCS who would decide what to do with the information. When it was communicated that the individual was too close to officials involved in the  complaint  and a solution for a more objective solution  and broader communication with the  governing board was requested.  A request for the policy that directs how documents are changed and the changes noted are visible based on conflicting documents that were observed for CCS Championships. Also a CIF Policy book and CCS policies were requested as provided by law and stated on the CIF website can be made available by written request. The response to the written request  was given by the CCS commissioner on 11/18/11:

“Every single policy link in the CCS web site works, I just checked them again. If you are talking about the CIF web site, the CCS has nothing to do with that. We have never altered a document unless a change has been made by the board of managers or if there was an error.

All our policies and bylaws are the ones on the web site. I have no idea what else you are talking about, nor do I have time to continue to respond to broad based requests that make no sense.

We have provided you with the complaint process. You do not like it. Just send whatever you believe you need to complain about to whomever you like. Our entire list of schools is on the web site. They ARE the CCS as this is a membership organization of schools. Send it to the CCS Board of Managers, Send it to whomever you like Mr. *********. We have nothing to hide.

Your slanderous comments about me and my staff are unfounded and offensive. Get on with it man…Make your complaint…Send it to whomever you like or move on.”

If this is how Penn State victims were treated, no wonder they never came forward!  Is this how we want CCS managed? Did she say “unless there was an error”? Not sure we see her dismiss errors made by others as easily as she insists her errors be  dismissed .  We will continue to prepare statements for the Board of Managers and hope individuals will come forward if abuse or misconduct is taking place.

Would you report abuse or cheating in high school sports?

Could High School Sports in CCS have problems like Penn State?

Locker rooms, staff rooms and board rooms are abuzz about Penn State and many have concerns that similar issues could exist in high school sports programs here in the Central Coast Section. It is refreshing to note that public opinion seems to hold university officials and board members who failed to act just as accountable as the perpetrator. CCS officials, committee members and member school representatives should take note.

CCS Watchdog has received over 50 communications from athletes, parents and coaches who believe they have valid concerns on a number of issues related to high school sports programs or CCS itself.  Complaints range from eligibility and improper conduct of school officials to improper financial management that imposes unnecessary costs on member schools. Many of the issues have merit and could mean civil or criminal exposure for CCS officials, they most certainly mean financial exposure for schools and sports programs throughout the Central Coast Section.

CCS Watchdog has attempted to contact CCS officials on several occasions. Recently we asked for a distribution list or assurance that our concerns would be communicated to all member school representatives on the Board of Managers and various committees. However CCS has failed to answer any of our questions or point to a formal process whereby a complaint could be filed without fear of  retaliation. Since CCS officials have the most to lose, they have been noticeably  silent, invoking legal assistance to avoid our questions. We think that is wrong.

We applaud the victims from Penn State who came forward. They are brave and their bravery may change the way schools and  sports programs operate across the country.

To some, Penn State Coach Joe Paterno  is an empathetic figure; he has stated he feels sorry for the victims and he did make an effort to file a complaint with University officials. But to others it is not enough.  Was  his offer to retire  disingenuous? Did he pursue the matter as he would have if the victims had been his children or grandchildren?  Is it business as usual if he continues the season before he retires? It is time people begin to take their fiduciary and moral responsibilities more seriously when setting an example or charged with protecting our youth.   How many victims could  have been  spared if coach Paterno  had spoken  up as aggressively as he coached? How many people wouldn’t have been permanently harmed if university officials had  acted  or  allowed a process for victims to come forward rather than just protect the status quo of the sports institutions and universities?

We again state our request, we have complied a list of complaints on behalf of individuals who have contacted us. We believe CCS staff has both a moral and legal obligation to let these concerns be heard by member school representatives.  We ask CCS staff to provide an email distribution list to all Board of Manager and committee representatives within 5 business days. Failing to do so would certainly indicate CCS may have issues very similar to those evolving at Penn State.

Is CCS afraid of the IRS, CCS Watchdog or is there something more?

Are CCS officials worried? Is there more than meets the eye with the financial and other dealings of the CCS office and staff? Is there a cover up going on before more information becomes public?

On November 1st  one of our members asked CCS staff for a distribution list and  instructions to provide information directly to the CCS  Board of Managers and the Executive Committee. In that we have compiled  information that is ultimately the fiduciary responsibility of individuals on these boards and committees, it is appropriate to ensure  that the information is properly received and delivered to each committee/board member, not buried at the CCS office by CCS staff who may be entangled in the areas of concern. The individual contact information for these individuals  is not available for public review and CCS surely must have distribution information they are simply not providing.
Are CCS officials stalling?