Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Race, discrimination at center of heated CIF report response

CIF commissioner Dennis Ackerman was cleared of any wrongdoing on Tuesday, prompting accusations of intimidation and stacking the deck through his staff amid high school recruiting controversy.

Race, discrimination at center of heated CIF report response
By Jason Owens, SDNN
April 28, 2010

The ongoing controversy surrounding allegations of racism and favoritism on the board that supervises San Diego high school athletics reached a boil on Tuesday with the release of a report that cleared its commissioner of any wrongdoing.

California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section revealed the report Tuesday to a skeptical public audience led by Stewart Payne, the father of a former Eastlake High girls basketball player whose Citizens Against CIF organization filed the complaints that led to a five-month investigation of the practices of commissioner Dennis Ackerman and his colleagues.

He, along with other parents, a reverend and a referee, spoke out on behalf of Citizens Against CIF, calling for further scrutiny despite the investigation’s conclusion that states that “Investigators were not able to substantiate the allegations made by Citizens Against CIF.”

About 20 members sat in the audience, many of them vocal and clearly displeased during the nearly two-hour session surrounding the report’s findings.

“These two gentlemen — your commissioner (Ackerman) and assistant commissioner (William McLaughlin) — are not fit to serve in the capacity they are serving,” Payne said in a speech to the CIF board, urging them to take further action. “They do not have the best interest of children, students and athletes at heart.”

The basis of the investigation stems from a March 2009 incident when the Eastlake High School girl’s basketball team was disqualified from the playoffs for using a player who was found to use a false address to obtain eligibility. Payne’s daughter played for that team. Coach Janet Eleazar was later fired in the wake of recruiting allegations.

Meanwhile, Poway High School, where Ackerman’s two sons have played baseball, received a pass amid seven instances of recruiting violations involving the baseball team....

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