The Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball team has been forced to forfeit multiple games after using an ineligible player.
On Jan. 4, SCCS received information that prompted athletics staff to re-evaluate the transfer status of a boys basketball player that had moved into the area prior to the start of the season. They found that the player did not have a valid change of address.
Two weeks ago, SCCS athletics reported the findings to the CIF-Southern Section. One week after that, the CIF-SS informed SCCS that the findings would force them to forfeit all games that the player had participated in.
The Cardinals are now 3-21 overall and 1-3 in Heritage League play.
“It’s really a drag. It’s a bummer,” said SCCS coach James Mosley. “I can tell you that there was no like, in terms of undue influence. It was basically a procedural error.”
The player, whom SCCS athletics requested to remain nameless, moved to the Santa Clarita Valley from out of state with his father. His mother and half-sister remained at the prior residence.
According to CIF-SS Bylaw 206, “a valid residence is defined as the location where the student’s parent(s),/guardian(s)/caregiver (with whom eligibility has been established) live with that student and thereby have the use and enjoyment of that location as a residence. A valid change of residence for eligibility purposes requires the former residence to have been vacated by the entire family for its use of residence.”
SCCS athletics director Mark Bates said that the team and staff were cooperative with the investigation. Bates sent an email to the school staff and parents on Friday detailing the situation and received positive feedback.
“I received four, five emails and a phone call from parents that were disappointed at having to lose the games but felt like this was a good learning opportunity for their kids and they hope their kids will … make the most of it,” Bates said.
A penalty for the player is yet to be decided. In terms of league standings, SCCS met with Heritage League athletic directors on Friday and determined that the basketball team will not lose eligibility in playoffs.
“Our league was really gracious and had a lot of respect for how we’re doing things,” Mosley said.
“It’s been tough. We’ve worked really hard. We play one of the hardest schedules in the state and we’re proud of every single win because the competition was so high. It hurts because they know they’ve worked hard, but there’s a lot of hope. It has brought us together. We can control our own destiny.”
Last season, the Cards went undefeated in Heritage League play for the league title. They then won the CIF-SS Division 5AAA title as well as the CIF Division V State title.
The season before that, the team went 16-6 overall and 8-2 in league and made it to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 5AA playoffs.
“People make a lot of assumptions and that’s why I focus on the kids,” Mosley said. “The kids that we have in our program, they fit into what our school is about and we just focus. There’s always going to be different people who assume or think different things. The kids who are here, as a staff we’re focused on serving them.”