View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


A Matter of Principal

Posted: February 1, 2008 3:37 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2008 2:02 a.m.
There has been a war brewing between local public and out-of-area private high schools over football and suspected recruiting since December.

The first shot was fired Thursday.
Saugus High School head football coach Jason Bornn sent out a letter to parents, coaches and media members accusing members and/or agents of Mission Hills' Bishop Alemany High School of recruiting Santa Clarita Valley football players - specifically eighth-graders.
In the letter, Bornn said a coach of the Castaic Cougars youth football program organized a meeting between children and their parents to receive information, specifically in regards to football, from Alemany High.
Anyone seen as an agent of the school recruiting on behalf of the school could be seen as a CIF violation, according to Dr. James Staunton, commissioner of athletics for the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section.
"They shouldn't be in the role of attracting kids to come to a school," Staunton said in an interview Jan. 16. "I would take these on a case-by-case basis, but what is a local coach doing setting up kids (at a meeting)? If that coach is acting as an agent (of the school), there could be clearly a violation."
Bornn and two other local varsity football coaches - Canyon's Chris Varner and Valencia's Larry Muir - have been in frequent contact with each other over the issue as they feel Alemany is improperly taking potential athletes away from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Alemany principal and Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry has been targeted as one of the main people recruiting athletes.
All three local coaches and Ferry have stressed that Alemany head coach Dean Herrington and his staff have not been involved in any recruiting.
"From every source, I've heard Frank and/or people representing themselves or an interested party are actively recruiting kids to go to Alemany," Bornn said. "What's illegal is you're targeting kids who are athletes."
Ferry denies the accusation, calling it "sour grapes."
He hired former Hart High and College of the Canyons coach Dean Herrington - a Hart High graduate - in May 2006, and former Hart High defensive coordinator Rick Herrington on Tuesday.
Ferry said it is their reputation that is drawing Santa Clarita athletes to the private Catholic school.
The former Saugus High School assistant principal said he was hired at Alemany in 2006 to increase enrollment at the school.
Ferry added that it is his job to promote the school and answer questions from prospective students about their interests.
"No, absolutely not," Ferry said when asked if he has recruited kids to his school based on their athletic abilities.
"I know exactly what I'm doing," he added. "I called the CIF. I ran everything through the CIF from day one. The reality is, these schools need to look at themselves and see why people want to leave."
Staunton said school administrators are allowed to give eighth-graders information about a school prior to their arrival.
Ferry has done that.
He admitted that a Castaic area youth football coach did bring kids and parents to an informational meeting at Alemany High recently, but added that football was not the reason for it.
Varner said he was contacted by a parent already with a son in his program and another son in the eighth grade who was contacted by the Castaic coach and asked if he would attend the meeting.
He did not go.
"(The parent) did tell me that a couple of friends went down (to Alemany)," Varner said. "They talked about scholarships, the school, but it was only football players. It wasn't like it was open to concert violinists."
The three coaches have decided that they will not play Alemany in the future as a consequence.
Saugus will play Alemany in Week 3 of the 2008 season. Bornn said he would get out of the final year of a two-year contract if he could, but was told he could be sanctioned by the CIF if he did pull out.
Varner said he has erased all games against private schools from his 2008 schedule - that includes games against private powerhouses St. Bonaventure of Ventura and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.
"There's certain ways you can do it and certain ways you can't do it," Varner said. "We all care about sports; at some point we have to have sort of a reasonable responsibility to hold academics above athletics. (Alemany's) contacting and doing things we can't."


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...