CCS: Serra FB out of playoffs 2 years

Here is a copy of a press release issued on Thursday by the CIF Central Coast Section that relates to Serra of San Mateo not playing in the CCS Open Division consolation bracket championship against Milpitas:

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2015) – The Commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation’s Central Coast Section (CCS) today informed San Mateo’s Junipero Serra High School that it has been placed on probation, must make financial restitution and that the school’s football team will not have the opportunity to participate in post-season playoffs for the next two years.

CCS logoThe sanctions stem from an exhaustive month-long investigation that found Serra violated section and CIF bylaws when it unilaterally decided to withdraw from the December 5, 2014 Football Open Division consolation championship playoff game against Milpitas High School.

“The very nature of interscholastic competition is founded on respect, commitment to team, school, league, community and also to each of your team’s opponent’s.” CCS Commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser wrote in a report sent today to Serra’s president, principal and athletic director. “Fulfilling your commitments to your opponents and playing your best…. is the standard of commitment acceptable to the member schools of the CIF and CCS found in our Six Pillars of Good Character, Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.”

The Commissioner found that Serra withdrew from the consolation championship game following a loss in the first round of the CCS Open Division and after winning the first round of consolation play. While the school claimed safety concerns, school officials acknowledged the team would have continued playing if they had been vying for a finish higher than fifth place.

Findings
The Commissioner’s sanctions against Serra were based on numerous factors, including:
•By quitting in the middle of the consolation bracket playoffs, Serra “knowingly decided to disregard its commitment to complete scheduled competitions . . . This decision caused Serra to violate the bylaws of the CIF and the CCS Board of Managers and its member schools.”
•“Allowing school leaders to determine that it need not continue with scheduled competitions when a school decides that such a competition is not important enough to play, undermines the very foundation of an organization like the CCS, formed by its member schools.”
•If Serra was concerned with the playoff format and had safety concerns based on its team composition, it should not have agreed to enter the playoffs thereby excluding another team desiring to participate.
•Serra’s actions were unfair to all the other teams competing in the playoffs – as well as another team that could have taken Serra’s place in the CCS football playoffs.
•Serra’s actions resulted in costs and loss of revenue to multiple parties.

The Sanctions
As a consequence for the violation, the Commissioner issued the following sanctions:
(1) The entire athletic program, all levels of all sports, of Junipero Serra is placed on probation beginning immediately and concluding after the last contest involving any Junipero Serra team or player in the Spring of 2016.
(2) The football teams of Junipero Serra at all levels are on probation beginning immediately and concluding after the last football contest involving Junipero Serra in the Fall of 2017.
(3) The Varsity Football team of Junipero Serra will not be afforded the privilege of participating in CCS playoffs for the next two seasons of sport, specifically the 2015 and 2016 CCS Football Playoffs.
(4) Junipero Serra is required to remit financial restitution to the following parties financially effected by its decision to withdraw from the Open Division Consolation Championships:
•Game Officials – $355.25
•Milpitas High School concessions and other event encumbered expenses paid by Milpitas High School – $1,965.47
•Milpitas High School Loss: concessions revenue – $2,000
•CCS Member Schools loss: consolation round net gate receipts – $1,752.33
The sanctions also include a recommendation that the CCS Board of Managers change Junipero Serra’s membership status from “member in good standing” to “probationary membership.” That recommendation will be addressed at a January 28 board meeting.
“While I take no enjoyment from handing down these sanctions, it is the duty of the Commissioner to uphold the integrity of interscholastic athletics and the bylaws as enacted by the CCS member schools,” Blaser said. “Today’s announcement is a reminder that our member schools establish our rules and agree to follow them in order to protect the integrity of high school athletics in our section.”
Serra has the opportunity to appeal the sanctions in accordance with CCS appeal procedures.


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3 Comments

  1. NorCalSportsFan
    Posted January 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    The sanctions are ridiculous. Hopefully CCS gets a new commissioner. Absolutely poor leadership. The fact of the matter is Serra and all non-related programs are being penalized for a trial playoff game. When Serra and Palma played in the first consolation game, both teams were missing the starters and players that started other sports and so decided to play a controlled game where most starters left played only a a few series and substituted with second team and JV players. It was a good learning experience for them. Milpitas didn’t agree to any engagement rules and the Serra coach and administration felt there was too much risk of injury for a game that didn’t mean anything. If CCS doesn’t overturn on appeal, I hope Serra takes this to court, because the section will lose. There is precedent for forfeiting games and Serra’s reasons are valid. Serra took a lose in the game due to fore fit. That should be only penalty. If there needs to be a penalty for the gate in the form of reimbursement of costs since the game wasn’t played, then I think that is reasonable. In any event, the consolation playoff makes little sense without alignment with CIF bowl selection criteria.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted January 24, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Penalizing the program with a playoff ban for two years to forfeit a meaningless consolation game I agree is ridiculous. Serra obviously has the resources to fight it as much as possible. Eventually, the CIF is going to lose one of these court cases.

  2. 1tunz1
    Posted January 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m from North Bay and I will stand by Serra all the way on this one. CCS has made terrible decisions the last 3 years in many areas, and this is the worst one yet. They changed the rules/format after the season started. I hope CCS gets their hats handed to them in court. And the sanction itself was too much… to punish other sports outside the football program. Serra should go independent and join the NCS. CCS has the most ridiculous commissioner. How is she still there?

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