One family’s story illustrates how sexual abuse and financial misconduct impacts minors in the state of California is allowed to flourish in organizations such as CCS and CIF:
The events surrounding Penn State compelled a family in the Central Coast Section to try to bring complaints forward about potential abuse of 8th grade athletes. Based on the family’s experience and observations, it was fairly likely that a disturbing pattern had set in and more girls continued to be victimized each year. However, the family had been aware of a history in the Section that made them reluctant to come forward. Rumors of a Machiavellian Commissioner who ruled the Section with an iron fist, had a history of retaliation and bias were enough to intimidate the family and raise concern that coming forward could jeopardize their own child’s privacy and athletic opportunities. CCS Watchdog looked into their concerns and found they had merit :
Rumors had circulated for years that the Commissioner, Nancy Blaser , had personal bias for private schools and was not be capable of acting properly or objectively as a public official . The Commissioner has never concealed her religious affiliations, she sent her own children to a private Christian school and many of her important historical appointments and assignments have been given to private school representatives over public school members. Even her public school appointments appear to have connections to her personal religious philosophies. Perhaps this adds to a lack of understanding necessary to properly manage public school burdens and obligations within the Section. In the 2010 CalPer audit, Nancy Blaser clearly demonstrated lack knowledge and expertise with respect to her obligations under state laws related to the proper managment of her own retirement benefits. Is she qualified , trained and capable of properly representing public schools and handling public monies? We asked CCS /CIF for a list of her qualifications and both organizations failed to provide or cooperate with the request. This claim has merit and has not been properly managed by CIF or the CCS governing bodies in the past.
Rumors have persisted that athletes have been denied opportunities that have gone instead to the Commissioner’s own daughters or other family members. Both of the Commissioner’s daughters have competed in varsity basketball, volleyball and track at Monte Vista Christian High school which is part of the MBL in the CCS. For years parents have noted ref calls that may have gone in favor of the Commissioner’s daughters’ at the expense of other athletes. Even athletes on the girls’ own teams have reported favoritism being given to the girls whose dad was also their coach. Did the girls receive league MVP titles and other awards because of their mother’s position? The Principal of the girls’ school sits on CCS highest governing body that is charged to oversee and manage the Commissioner herself. Certainly a substantial conflict of interest is present when the Commissioner pays tuition to a school that employs an individual who then sits on the governing board charged to manage and oversee the Commissioner herself. Sponsors have privately noted for years the “unspoken” code that may have awarded league titles for MVP and off season awards to the Commissioner’s daughters and the school they attend. Has all this been at the expense of more deserving athletes? The Commissioner’s older daughter , Alex Blaser, now attends and competes in sports at San Jose State , she is also employed as a volleyball coach for Valley Christian High school, a member school of the Section. Did the daughter get these opportunities because of her mother’s position? Valley Christian also has a position on a governing board for CCS , is that conflict disclosed and transparent?
Rumors have also circulated related to bias with the Commissioner’s husband as well . The Commissioner would have a community property interest in any income or benefits received by her husband, a very clearly defined conflict of interest. Yet the Commissioner has overseen the Section where her husband has coached boys from his member school , competed in CCS Championships and coached his own daughter’s teams. Did the Commissioner aggressively pursue and sanction Salinas High School, the known rival and major competitor to North Salinas High where her husband is employed to give his school an advantage? Has the Commissioner acted on other schools who have not been diligent in managing the enrollment records of their students as she acted on Salinas High? CCS Watchdog has seen evidence that she has not. The fall out of this may have been hundreds of kids lost athletic opportunities for all sports for one year and football players for two years while the Commissioner’s family and athletes from her favorite schools may have been allowed to enjoy those opportunities without proper oversight from the Section or CIF.
Rumors that officials do not report minor abuse as legally obligated may have merit as well. The family in this case attempted to contact the school, but school failed to respond to their inquiries. They offered no formal process to file a complaint related to sex abuse charges . CCS had multiple opportunities to act on this very coach as well, and CCS failed to act on claims of recruitment and improper enrollment for many of the school’s athletes that the coach improperly recruited .The coach has remained in his position and neither the school or district where he was employed incurred any penalties or investigations as Salinas High endured. Instead CCS continued to elevate the coach within the organization giving him broad authority and allowing him to oversee CCS Championships as well . The school district where he is employed also has a member of both CIF and CCS governing board. After hearing the coach boast about how he was able to get the Section to deny eligibility for individual athletes based on his personal agenda, the family felt coming forward against the coach would not be in the best interest of their daughter and would likely have a negative impact on her privacy and athletic opportunities in the future.
If CCS and CIF have truly failed to follow their own rules and properly manage themselves, how can they fairly and objectively manage the 1.9 million athletes in the state of California they are charged to serve? Are the legal fees in CCS and CIF escalating to protect the “Good Old Boys” , or in CCS case: the Good Old Girls? CCS and CIF money is to be used to provide athletic opportunities for the 1.9 million athletes of the state, not protect the personal interests and bias of the very few who have managed these organizations for far too long. It would also be worth noting how the CIF legal counsel and their firm have benefited financially over the past few years . Legal costs appear to be escalating at a time when schools simply cannot afford it. Is the CIF counsel providing guidance according to legal and ethical standards to the organization or is school money being used to protect civil and criminal misconduct of a select few in the CCS and CIF organizations?
CCS Watchdog believes it is time for the California State Attorney General’s Office to investigate CIF and CCS further. Kamala Harris ran on a campaign where she promised to protect citizens of this state from issues such as those found in the management of CIF and CCS . An audit of conflict of interest filings, private eligibility cases and member school penalties as well as internal communication and records review will certainly expose some of the misconduct that appears to have negatively impacted youth in this state for years. If such management has unfairly denied some athletes opportunities, it is a travesty. If such management has provided for personal gain of CIF and CCS officials, it is criminal. If CCS and CIF have failed to act on coaches as they are legally obligated by their own rules and state laws, then they intentionally allowed children to be placed in harm’s way which is not only criminal, but unethical and immoral at best.