New Transfer and “ Sit Out” Rules Are Dangerous for Athletes and Member Schools- Are they Constitutional?

The CIF has implemented new transfer and “Sit Out “ rules that serve  to further   limit athletic  opportunities for California high school  students, add to member school and coaching administrative burdens and grant too much subjective authority  to overreach into what should be  private family decisions.

The CIF and its Sections should not have entrance or ability to judge academic issues,  member school enrollment policies or decisions made by families in the best interest of their children. The CIF should address enrollment policies of member schools as a consideration of accepting a school into the CIF, not policing those policies on an individual basis when later considering student transfers. If a student is enrolled in a CIF member school, that student should be afforded the same athletic opportunities of other students enrolled in any CIF member school. Transfer rules limiting those opportunities are clearly inequitable and likely unconstitutional. Furthermore, no CIF official has the ability or expertise to properly address academic , safety or economic decisions made by  individual families in the best interest of their children. The CIF should only make determinations based on a universal and measurable standards , such as school accreditation or  student GPA requirements .

The new “ Sit Out “ rules will add to administrative burdens of schools and coaches and will lack equity for individual students. Athletic opportunities should  not be based on administrative  and adult management issues that are beyond an individual  athlete’s  oversight or  control. A team or individual athlete should not face possible sanctions, lost competitions or eligibility restrictions if a coach or member school does not properly manage the new Sit Out Rule.

The CCS Commissioner, Nancy Blaser has historically demonstrated a willingness to sanction schools and eliminate athletic opportunities based on her subjective review and personal bias. These new rules will give her more authority to continue to do so and leave the possibility that individual student athletes will be denied athletic opportunities based on that authority and the new CIF “ Sit Out “ transfer rule.

It is time to remind CIF and CCS that they are charged to manage sportsmanship, competitions and ensure the coaches and CIF officials manage our student athletes with the highest degree of integrity, accountability and transparency. ,   It is time for CIF and CCS to get out of member school policies and private family business.   It is time for CIF and CCS to get their own house in order .


Does CIF and CCS Ultimately Determine which California Athletes make the Olympics?

As the Summer Olympic Games begin in London,  a great deal of attention has been given to the fact that almost 20% of the USA Olympic team is comprised of California athletes. Cal and Stanford dominate  collegiate claim to many of these athletes and most are California grown, at least during their high school years.

With numbers so significant and remarkable, more attention should be given to the organization that oversees high school sports in California and ultimately determines who may or may not be allowed to compete in the Olympic games to represent the United States of America.

For years CIF  and many of its Sections have had a history plagued with administrative missteps  and  the appearance of improper actions or special interests. Until these organizations start to answer with more than just dotted line responsibility to state legislators and taxpayers ,  until the organization provides greater transparency related to CIF and Section finances and management, no California high school athlete can truly be guaranteed true equity and  a fair opportunity to compete.

Like life, sports are not always fair.   Win some, lose some. Have a great day, have a terrible day. Get an injury or illness during a critical competition.  But administrative gridlock, overreaching and overpaid officials should not add to the inequity of high school sports. It is time to insist on greater transparency and accountability from those charged to oversee our high school sports programs in California.

NCAA Sanctions Against Penn State Disingenuous

The NCAA sanctions against Penn State are unprecedented and perhaps deserved. However, the gesture from the NCAA still fails to address how the NCAA itself played a part in the Penn State Hall of Shame scandal.  The NCAA has  done nothing to change its own internal culture which encourages wins at all cost, looks the other way when administrators or coaches fail to do the right thing, discourages parents and students from speaking up  and explains bad decisions as simply “following the rules”.  If following the rules discourages one person from speaking up, punishes one student athlete improperly, or allows bad behavior, then those rules are flawed.

Does stripping wins from a dead coach or fining a  school $60 million dollars do anything to change sports  culture? Coach Paterno died having felt those victories, having been revered for over  20 years and with his  winning record intact.  Penn State officials who looked the other way or failed to act still enjoy large pensions and salaries and the NCAA sanctions appear to do nothing more than punish current and future Penn State students and athletes for something they had no ability to control. The sanctions imposed by the NCAA do little to change sports culture and fail to  accept responsibility for how the NCAA contributed to that culture.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said Penn State  had put “hero worship and winning at all costs” ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility, yet Mr. Emmert fails to acknowledge that the NCAA  did, and continues to do  the same.

NCAA, CIF and CCS are the gatekeepers of high school through college sports culture. For over 20 years we have seen CCS Commissioner , Ms. Blaser, construct a culture here on the Central Coast that mirrors that of the NCAA . The culture has become one where student athletes are denied opportunities, stripped of victories and forced to pay a price for adult behavior that is beyond any student’s control. CIF has allowed Ms. Blaser supreme authority over thousands  of student athletes, but has failed offer transparency to ensure that Ms. Blaser herself has acted properly. If Ms. Blaser cannot demonstrate she follows the rules herself, then how can she demonstrate she is qualified to shape sports culture for high school athletes?


We anxiously await a time when the NCAA officials will stop imposing rules that serve only  to harm the very athletes they are charged to protect. We look forward to a day when student athletes will find integrity and character in those charged to protect them. We look forward to the day when someone at the top will stand up, speak up and make a difference to change sports culture for the better.