SoCalHoops College Recruiting News Report
For Narbonne Girls--Must Forfeit City Title,
Possibly State Crown--(April 18,1998)
So much for the long-anticipated and continuing rivarly between Berkely's girls who are mostly freshman and juniors, and the Narbonne girls basketball team, which also was mostly younger players. The State Final this year was only the first of what many expected would be pitched battles for years to come.
But that won't happen next year. Or maybe not even the year after.
Narbonne is a program which many in the city consider right out there on the edge; some even call it "dirty" based on rumors of improper recruiting of players. Take, for example the following:
* The football program is on probation, and has forfeited all of its 1997 games for using ineligible players;
* The boys basketball program also forfeited all of its practice and conference games for using ineligible players.
So it was only a question of time before big questions were asked about some of the girls. And that happened Thursday, as the City section stripped Narbonne's Girls' Basketball team of it's city title and held that they would be on probation for the next two years.
In a story by LA Times Gary Klein, the Times reported that the forfeiture of the title was, like the other infractions in other programs at the school, for using ineligible players.
The City Section rules committee made the ruling after meeting Wednesday to discuss several issues involving the Narbonne athletic program. Barbara Fiege, commissioner of athletics, said the 11-member committee imposed sanctions against the girls' basketball program after completing its investigation of allegations of recruiting and falsification of addresses.
Narbonne, which forfeited its last three regular-season games for using an ineligible player, will not be eligible to participate in the City Section girls' playoffs next season. Portia Mitchell, a junior, and Raimi Mitchell, a sophomore--who both transferred from North Torrance--were ruled ineligible for one year retroactive to March 2 because of residence issues. Syreeta Stafford, a sophomore who transferred from Washington High, also was ruled ineligible for one year retroactive to Feb. 20 because of residence issues.
Under City Section rules, Narbonne has 10 days to appeal the decision to Jeri Durham, administrator of the L.A. Unified School District's office of operations. If the appeal is denied, the school could appeal to the state office of the California Interscholastic Federation.
"We will be appealing that decision [to the City Section]," Narbonne principal Pat Donahoe said. "Our administrators visited the [Mitchell] home and found everything in order. Their belongings were at that location and there was no way I could say they don't live here. "We have sworn affidavits and rental agreements and we visited the home. That's as far as I can go."
Jack Hayes, executive director of the CIF, said Narbonne's state championship will not be invalidated until the situation is reviewed by the state CIF executive committee. The City 4-A title will officially be listed as vacated, Fiege said. Other sanctions imposed on Narbonne:
* The entire program was already on probation for two years;
* The football program, which was already on probation, forfeited all of its regular-season games for the 1997 season for using an academically ineligible player. In addition, Coach Leroy Wilson will not be allowed to coach the first two games of the 1998 season.
* The boys' basketball program forfeited all of this past season's practice and conference games for using a player ineligible because of a transfer issue. The program is on probation for the 1998-99 season and the student is ineligible to participate in sports the rest of this school year.
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