Transfer of Hollister’s Football Star Hits Community Nerve- Should We Name Names?

Our last post caused such a stir we wanted to respond in more detail to one commenter’s charge about disclosing a student’s name…..

Vance, is correct! Typically, names of children should not be disclosed and subjected to debate.  However, all athletes who choose to participate in varsity sports enter the public domain and this athlete was addressed, by name, in a local newspaper. His stats are also highly visible to college recruiters and others on numerous websites so the issue became of interest when he moved from Hollister to Morgan Hill during his varsity career. While students do not check their civil rights at the door when they attend school, they give up certain privacy protection when they compete in a public , highly visible varsity sport,  by choice. CCS officials who are highly compensated with public funds also give up their privacy rights. Those are necessary considerations to ensure transparency and equity in our high school athletic programs.  Additionally, this is a matter of public interest because many athletes are denied the opportunity to maintain eligibility after a family move during a varsity career. So to ensure the rules are equitably enforced , it merits specific discussion with actual examples.

CCS Watch dog has received 1,000 hits , 2 public comments and 50 private emails on this topic, so it is clearly of importance to the CCS community. The issue at hand is not  an individual student, but how CCS managed the transfer. For over 20 years Nancy Blaser has had the sole responsibility of reviewing and determining the transfer request and varsity eligibility issues as they related to  hundreds of CCS athletes. On their own none of these would appear to be problematic, however when reviewed and discussed , the issues related to personal bias or economic conflicts of interest appear to have negatively impacted hundreds of athletes in this CIF Section for years . The issue is  not that Ms. Blaser approved an athletic transfer of a varsity football player, it is more about those she has denied and how CCS and CIF have not managed that issue properly. If one athlete was improperly denied athletic opportunities when another was granted those opportunities based on Ms.  Blaser’s sole authority, the issue deserves the attention of the entire CCS Community.

Ms. Blaser’s record on Salinas High early in her career provides the best example as to why this issue is more important than Vance believes: There was a charge that an athlete at Salinas High had improperly enrolled in the school. It was discovered that the family owned multiple properties within the city and had moved without properly notifying the school. At the time Ms. Blaser imposed the harshest sanction available to her as CCS Commissioner. She denied athletic eligibility in all sports  at Salinas High for one year and football for three years. Hundreds of students from golfers, swimmers to  basketball and volleyball players lost athletic opportunities to not only play and enjoy sports during their high school career, but also to earn college scholarships and future academic opportunities.

CCS and CIF have failed to disclose if Ms. Blaser was in compliance with her obligations to disclose her conflicts of interest at the time she made the decision related to Salinas High . While many would say it was a leap to assume she had personal motivation in removing Salinas High’s athletic eligibility,  it is a fact that her husband was employed and coached for a rival team that went on to win a CCS championship in and around the time Ms. Blaser made the  decision. Did Ms. Blaser’s husband have a better opportunity to win with Salinas High out of the way or staggering from a loss of eligibility? Did Ms. Blaser’s husband have a better program,  receive more personal recognition or  higher pay because Salinas offered no competition to his program? It may be a reach, but because it is possible it is legally required that these very issues be managed and transparent so they are fair for all athletes.  As of now , they are not.

It is a fact that school districts continue to act far worse than Salinas High did in this matter and CCS does nothing. Is that because Ms. Blaser has nothing to gain in those communities? Is it because she has something to lose if they lose athletic eligibility? CCS Watchdog is aware that MS. Blaser did not investigate the transfer in this matter as she has investigated others.  As to other issues that certainly came up in this case, Ms. Blaser may not have acted either. Ms. Blaser surely had to address recruiting, practice times,  club participation and much more. It is unlikely that if something came up related to Morgan Hill’s program that she acted as she is required. It certainly would impact housing prices in Morgan Hill at a critical time if the school district were to lose eligibility for all sports as Salinas High did.

So Much Cheating……. What Happens When it is Actually the Student?

A student at Redwood City High School was recently expelled from his honors English class after it was discovered that he had copied another student’s homework. We applaud Redwood City High for taking swift and firm action in addressing cheating, but only if such action was not retaliatory in nature AND only if the school has treated all cases of cheating, academically or  athletically, equitably.

The parents of the cheating student have now filed a lawsuit against the high school claiming that the policy was vague and it was not understood that homework was included in the policy. Since teachers within the same school often have vastly different ideas related to homework including; how much is assigned, if it is worked on in small groups or if it is even graded. In the absence of a uniform homework policy that is clearly communicated and equitably enforced to the entire student body, the case has merit.

Within CCS all athletes appear to be bound by the same rules, but there seems to be constant exceptions. In some cases CCS has penalized one school for cheating, and ignored the cheating of another school. Some athletes have been granted privileges, when other athletes in very similar circumstances have been denied those same privileges.  Some coaches have lost their jobs for what would seem like a minor rule infraction, while others have remained on the job and continue to blatantly violate rules and regulations. Of course athletes and students are confused! When the adults around them fail to set  rules and enforce rules with transparency or equity,  it is confusing. When the adults  fail to act with integrity themselves, how can we expect children to understand how they should act.

So before we determine if the case against Redwood City is frivolous, we might realize there may be bigger questions to ask and if the case moves forward the school will have to demonstrate the policy was clear, reasonable and equitably applied. If that information becomes part of a lawsuit and in the public domain, we all benefit and iron curtain that has protected schools and CCS-CIF may be lifted.

Did the CCS Commissioner Approve a Varsity Transfer to Improve the Value of Her Home?

It is a widely accepted that communities with good schools and good athletic programs garner higher house prices than communities with lower performing schools and sports programs.  So it shouldn’t be lost on the CCS community that a highly visible star football player has just transferred from Hollister to Morgan Hill, where CCS Commissioner, Nancy Blaser has lived for over 20 years. Certainly  Ms. Blaser has noticed the decline in her home’s value in recent years , but did that fact enter in her consideration and approval of  Michael Bocksnick’s transfer just prior to his senior year and final high school football season?

CIF and CCS continue to fail to address and manage critical conflicts of interest that are so flagrant that they would never be tolerated in any other area where public funds are used. Did Ms. Blaser recuse herself when considering Michael Bocksnick’s transfer since she owns  property in the community that would certainly benefit from the transfer approval?  Did Ms. Blaser  investigate the Bosnick family move with the same fever as she has historically investigated other CCS families?  If the issue were to become part of a public lawsuit could CCS show it handled and investigated all transfers equitably?

Hollister’s football team will surely miss Michael Bocknick next year and Morgan Hill is elated to have him. Maybe Morgan Hill will finally celebrate a winning football season and being the home to the CCS Commissioner.