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Thread: This Is Insane

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Unhappy This Is Insane

    I understand rules and such, but ....

    High school football playoffs halted by judge

    Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    High school football has a proud tradition in California towns like Oakdale in Stanislaus County and Colfax in Placer County.

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    Anticipation was high Friday night as the Oakdale Mustangs and the Colfax Falcons prepared to meet in the postseason for the fifth time since 2002.

    In Oakdale, boosters already were cooking up 300 pounds of tri-tip and laying out blankets on the best seats in "the Corral" before the crowd - Oakdale games commonly pull 6,000 - arrived. In Colfax, the Falcons boarded a bus and began the two-hour trip to meet their opponents.

    And then a phone call brought everything to a halt. Some 80 miles to the west, in Alameda County, a state Superior Court judge had just ordered the game suspended, throwing the future of the entire Division IV playoffs into chaos.

    The Falcons' bus turned around, and Mustangs coach Trent Merzon tried to explain what had happened to his student athletes.

    "They were shocked," Merzon said Sunday. "They were numb. They didn't know how to react. ... I didn't know how to react."

    Merzon and coaches at the seven other schools scheduled for the playoffs instead spent the weekend explaining to their young charges how a conflict between two complicated sets of rules - each set up by adults to protect children - had wound up in a court of law, where today a judge will hear arguments over whether a paperwork snafu should have made a talented young student in Auburn (Placer County) ineligible to play football.

    The decision, when it comes, may affect not just the young athlete's future, but also the future of his team, his division, and by extension, the rules governing high school sports throughout California. It will impact some 700,000 athletes, most of whom, in the end, just want to play ball.

    Talented defensive back
    The tangled tale centers on a 16-year-old named Dalton Dyer, a young man with a passion for football and hopes of playing in college, maybe for Cal, maybe - who knows? - for the pros one day.

    "I just like running, basically," Dyer said Sunday. "It's fun."

    Dyer has been in foster care his entire life, and has moved repeatedly under court order, living in Oakland until sixth grade, then with an aunt in Auburn, then in a foster home in Vallejo before moving back to his aunt's house in August, when he enrolled as a junior in Placer High School, home of the Hillmen.

    Dyer was soon a standout defensive back, playing well enough that the Auburn Journal took notice of him in its coverage of the team. In October, another school, noticing he had been listed as a transfer student, called the Sac-Joaquin section of the California Interscholastic Federation to ask whether he was eligible to play at Placer.

    The CIF is the body empowered under California law to govern the state's regional and statewide interscholastic athletics. Some 1,400 schools participate in the CIF system and fall under its eligibility rules, intended to ensure that as many students as possible can play sports without the system being abused by over-competitive coaches or parents who might seek to recruit star athletes from out of town or create temporary addresses to keep talented players on their teams.

    Violating the CIF rules can force teams to forfeit games played by ineligible players - and a handful of teams are forced to forfeit games every year because of infractions. When CIF Commissioner Pete Saco looked over Placer's paperwork on Dyer, he concluded that he was looking at another rule violation.

    Saco concluded that Dyer's move to Auburn in August was not a "valid change of residence," which the rules define as the movement of a student and his or her full immediate family, and all their possessions, from one residence to another. Since Dyer was a foster child, Saco concluded, Placer High should have filed the paperwork for a "hardship" transfer.

    Because Dyer was ineligible in the five games he had played, Saco ruled that the Hillmen must forfeit those five games, three of which it had won, including two league games.

    "It is unfortunate," CIF section President Ralf Swenson said in an Oct. 27 statement. "But the rules are clear, ironclad and don't allow us any room to work things out after the fact."

    Suddenly the Hillmen were no longer looking at a potential championship year. At the end of the season, instead of a 4-2 record, the Hillmen had a 2-4 record. Their Placer County rivals at Colfax, with a 3-3 record, prepared for the playoffs and the game against Oakdale.

    'Sickened'
    "I am sickened about this situation," Placer High athletic director Mark Lee said in a statement issued after the ruling. "The CIF bylaws are clear and I accept full responsibility for my misinterpretation of them. It is my fault and no one else."

    When the news hit the Hillmen locker room, Dyer was distraught, he said Sunday.

    "I actually thought it was my fault. Even though he said it wasn't, it was my paperwork," he said. "The worst part was seeing the whole football team crying."

    Art Woodward, whose son is on the Placer High team with Dyer, listened to his son's description of that emotional day and the team's fallen prospects. An attorney and the former president of the Little League, he met with some other parents, the school principal, athletic director Lee and Hillmen coach Joey Montoya to see whether anything could be done.

    "We did what guys who are trained to read things carefully do, and we spotted some real issues," he said.

    Woodward decided that the CIF's rule created a hurdle for any foster child, since none could be considered to have an "immediate family." After consulting with the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, Woodward concluded that the rule was in conflict with state laws requiring foster children to be given the same opportunities as all other students.

    Representing the school district pro bono, Woodward appealed to the CIF, suggesting that it choose to see foster children as a "family of one," thereby making their court-ordered moves "valid changes of residence" under CIF rules and exempt from the need for hardship paperwork.

    When the CIF rejected Dyer's appeal, the National Center for Youth Law decided to take up the case.

    "Dalton had to write a letter explaining he was in foster care in order to get a waiver. His aunt had to write a letter explaining their family situation," said Leecia Welch, an attorney for the youth law center. "The bottom line is that foster youth are entitled to a level playing field ... they shouldn't have to overcome barriers that other youths don't face."

    The center filed its petition Thursday, arguing that the court should halt the Oakdale-Colfax game, restore Placer's forfeited victories, and let Dyer's team take its original place in the playoffs against Oakdale.

    On Friday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch postponed the Oakdale-Colfax game until the legal questions can be addressed.

    And as the tri-tip sizzled in Oakdale for a game that would never come, the Falcons' bus headed for home.

    "He was frustrated. He came home and shrugged his shoulders," said Beth Ann Tremoureux, whose son Thomas Tremoureux, 17, a Falcons safety, was on the bus. "He's got a good attitude. He's worked very hard all season to get this far. But the parents feel this is little ridiculous that it came to this."

    'Extremely concerned'
    For its part, the CIF is wondering when its playoffs will take place.

    "We are extremely concerned about the potential that the legal challenge ... has to derail the entire Division IV playoff schedule and unfairly harm eight schools that have done nothing wrong and are not parties to this dispute," CIF said in a statement. "The last-minute nature of this action was beyond our control, and we regret the inconvenience to the players, coaches, referees, students, parents and alumni planning to attend the game."

    Over the weekend, other coaches in the division, like Dixon's Scott Winslow, fielded phone calls from families that were making holiday plans around the playoff schedule. Winslow had to tell them that he did not know who the team would eventually play - or even whether the playoffs would continue at all.

    "One of the nightmare scenarios is nothing gets decided tomorrow," he said Sunday. "Then we're all sitting there going, 'What now?' "

    A special education teacher, Winslow said he had nothing but sympathy for the plight of disadvantaged athletes - but noted that he had managed to file the right paperwork for foster children on his team in the past, and couldn't understand how Placer High slipped up. Moreover, he said, if the rules need to be changed, then why does his football season have to wait for it to happen?

    "That's where I kind of wonder how much of this was football-motivated versus really what's best for the kid," he said.

    Oakdale coach Merzon, for his part, said the issue was clear.

    "There are rules, and the rules are in place for a reason or they wouldn't be there. You can't randomly select who has to follow those rules ... you don't get to speed just because you're late for work. It's a speeding ticket. It's a rule," he said. "Our society is based on laws. Our religion is based on commandments. You can't pick and choose."

    Dyer, for his part, no longer feels like he let his team down - helped in part by his fellow players' decision to name him captain for the game immediately after the forfeit order. Now he's thinking of the future; the Hillmen earned their right to play in the playoffs, he believes, and he wants to play football.

    "I felt like everybody was behind me on this. They were boosting me up," he said. "I hope that we'll be able to go to the playoffs. We worked hard all summer ... if we practice hard all weekend, I'm pretty sure we'll win it."

    Chronicle staff writer Steve Rubenstein contributed to this report. E-mail Matthew B. Stannard at mstannard@sfchronicle.com.

    This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


    I dont pay much attention to most sports, but the headline caught my attention.


  2. #2
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    THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!

    Now that that is out of the way, it is rediculous that foster children have to be burdened with paperwork in order to elligible to play.

    I just read the follow ups to it, and it appears the court ruled in favor of Placer High and the playoffs continued as normal.
    Last edited by engine1321; 12-08-2008 at 10:55 AM.

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    This is the part that gets me
    Dyer was soon a standout defensive back, playing well enough that the Auburn Journal took notice of him in its coverage of the team. In October, another school, noticing he had been listed as a transfer student, called the Sac-Joaquin section of the California Interscholastic Federation to ask whether he was eligible to play at Placer.
    Some poor sport in another school saw a cheap way to get into the playoffs.

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    Forum Member MTKROUSH's Avatar
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    Are we sure this is not High School football in the Great State of Texas. They take this kind of thing more serious than anyone else I've heard ot
    To err is human, To forgive divine and at times I am as much of both as you will ever find

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTKROUSH View Post
    Are we sure this is not High School football in the Great State of Texas. They take this kind of thing more serious than anyone else I've heard ot

    Wasn't Texas - Folks in Texas carry guns....... and don't hide behind Lawyers.............


    Seriously, Kids like him get beat around in life too much to begin with. A LOT of "Organized" Athletics for Kids are really organized for, by, and about Parents. "I wish the grownups would just let us play ball" is a common sentiment among kids in this area.............
    Last edited by hwoods; 01-08-2009 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Stupid Keyboard Kant Spel
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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Yeahhhhh.................

    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    This is the part that gets me

    Some poor sport in another school saw a cheap way to get into the playoffs.


    WHAT HE SAID!!!!!............ Absolutely Right!
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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