Accusations of bias at town hall meeting
By Brent Schrotenboer
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
October 23, 2009
Several parents, students and citizens last night denounced the local governing body of high school athletics, accusing it of discrimination in a town hall meeting that drew nearly 100 people.
The gathering at New Assurance Baptist Church in Rolando was organized to protest decisions made by the San Diego Section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).
Pastor Rickey Laster said the meeting's purpose was to “speak truth to power.” It was conducted by a grass-roots group calling itself Citizens Against CIF, which has accused San Diego Section officials of bias against schools from disadvantaged areas.
“It's discrimination is what it is,” said Rudy Johnson, a Horizon High School senior.
The meeting lasted more than two hours with many emotional pleas to fight local CIF officials through various means, including picketing the San Diego Section's Board of Managers meeting Tuesday. Some elected officials sent representatives to monitor the meeting, including Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista.
Local CIF officials said they could not attend because of scheduling conflicts. But a private attorney who has worked for San Diego Section officials, Dino Buzunis, tried to give the CIF's side. His comments often were met with jeers from the crowd. Buzunis asked them to keep an open mind so they can “know the entire story.”
“You're only being told what certain people want you to hear because decisions have been made that they're unhappy with,” Buzunis said.
Buzunis said “the CIF is not a racist organization” and that its rules are designed to create a level playing field for all.
Several players from the Eastlake High girls basketball team didn't agree. The San Diego Section booted the Titans from the playoffs last year, accusing them of having an ineligible ninth-grader who used false addresses to gain enrollment at Eastlake middle and high schools. Eastlake team members denied it. Coach Janet Eleazar recently was fired amid such allegations of improper recruiting, which she denied.
Others at the meeting asked why the wrestling and baseball programs at Poway, where section Commissioner Dennis Ackerman lives, didn't face serious penalties after facing similar accusations. Eastlake and San Diego High, in a similar case, ended up with fired coaches and forfeited games...
Football Player's Dreams Shattered By CIF
CIF Abusing Its Powers?
ovember 4, 2005
Rocco Sanchez was one of the most sought-after high school football players in the country...
Sanchez's dream of playing in the NFL suffered a major setback when his parents split up. Sanchez and his mother moved, forcing him to leave Castle Park High School and attend Otay Ranch High School.
It was not a big deal, until Maria Castilleja, the principal at Castle Park High School, called the school district and said Sanchez did not really move.
Sanchez and his mom, Mika Molina, moved into a home near Otay Ranch High School. However, Molina's husband stayed in Castle Park's district...
In August, the CIF held two hearings and found that ... Sanchezes violated a CIF rule which "requires the entire Sanchez family move" to the new address.
According to 10News, the CIF and the school district said Sanchez's mother was lying. Therefore, Sanchez could not play football...
"There's certainly an appearance of a conflict of interest, and you should avoid those appearances," said Bob Ottilie, an attorney representing Sanchez...
CIF Abusing Its Power?
...Molina said the CIF unfairly used the CIF's rule book and ignored the fact that she had split up with her husband...
"I can give you horrible examples of people who have been deprived of their rights and haven't had a chance to prove they're right because of the way the CIF investigates these matters, hears these matters and delays these matters," said Ottilie.
Ottilie has taken on the CIF numerous times and has won every battle over student eligibility.
The former wrestling coach for Carlsbad High School said abuses by the federation turned physical at a wrestling tournament when a CIF official attacked him.
"I turned my back to him, and that's when I get assaulted by him basically," Pilot said.
Someone turned their video camera on just as CIF tournament director Richard Malliet choked Pilot.
Parent Rick Trevino wrote a letter to the CIF and said that Malliet had Pilot in a choke hold. Douglas Gadker, another parent who wrote the CIF, said Malliet had Pilot "in a headlock and was dragging him from behind."...
According to 10News, the tournament director, who witnesses say was the attacker, was not punished. Instead, the CIF has, at least temporarily, banned Pilot from coaching at CIF events...