UPDATE: SLOHS boys soccer loses appeal - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

UPDATE: SLOHS boys soccer loses appeal

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UPDATE: (February 12th)

San Luis Obispo High School was notified late Sunday night that its written administrative appeal to have two games nullified for a chance at an at-large playoff bid was denied. The 2017-18 Tigers season ends with an overall record of 10-12, 3-11.

The CIF legal team reportedly denied all three appeals:

  • Stay of the Section Soccer Playoff Team Seeding and Scheduling
  • Request to the Section for an Administrative Appeal 
  • Request to the Executive Director for an Appeal Under Bylaw 1105

The legal team's letter to SLOHS contained the following: "The CIF and the Section are not unsympathetic to SLOHS' situation. However, playoff representation, by design, vests full power at the league level.  SLOHS has admitted to violating those rules and as such, the penalty is self-executing."

Principal Leslie O'Connor told KSBY in an email, "We are disappointed and frustrated by this process. Our aim and intent was as always to do what is best for our student-athletes. We hoped that our efforts would yield in a continuation of our boys' season. The tone of the denial letter was unnecessarily combative and disparaging, but the outcome is unsurprising. This rule needs more discretion than zero tolerance. We need to put students first and the emotional impact of the decisions our team faced were put aside for technicalities. We have dedicated and talented coaches who inspire and teach young people each and everyday, and who now must face the reality of not going further in their season."

UPDATE: (February 9th)

San Luis Obispo is in process of filing a written administrative appeal to the CIF Southern Section. The school is asking for forfeit games to be nullified. The two games in question to be nullified include Mission Prep on February 2 and Arroyo Grande on February 6. Those games happened after Paso Robles had information in its possession, that if shared with San Luis Obispo, would have allowed the Tigers to investigate and suspend the players.

After the team had to forfeit most of its league record, the overall season ended at 10-12. If the appeal is granted, San Luis Obispo's record would become 12-10 and the team would be eligible for an at-large Division 2 playoff bid.

"The league supports this application of San Luis Obispo High School based on the uniqueness of the situation. Had the information been shared, then we would have acted immediately, as we did, once things came into light," said Leslie O'Connor, San Luis Obispo High School principal.

The appeal would not affect the PAC 8 standings or the seeding.

CIF is set to release the soccer brackets on Monday, February 12. The first round of playoffs is scheduled for Wednesday, February 14.

San Luis Obispo High School boys soccer announced Thursday it will forfeit its league season after discovering four of its players violated CIF Bylaw 600, which is competition on an outside team.

The Tigers were notified about the violation after its win against Arroyo Grande Tuesday, February 6. 

San Luis Obispo's victory over Arroyo Grande moved the Tigers into first place in the PAC 8 League with one game remaining.

PAC 8 League Standings as of Thursday morning, February 8:

  1. San Luis Obispo (11-2-0)
  2. Arroyo Grande (10-1-2)
  3. Paso Robles (8-4-1)
  4. Righetti (8-5-0)
  5. Pioneer Valley (7-5-1)
  6. St. Joseph (4-9-0)
  7. Atascadero (2-11-0)
  8. Mission Prep (0-13-0)

San Luis Obispo Athletic Director Jeff Brandow said he received a call from Stephen Fields, Arroyo Grande's athletic director, informing him about the violation.

Fields reportedly learned about it from Eagles' boys soccer coach Eliseo Romero. Romero received a phone call from Paso Robles' boys head soccer coach Omar McPherson, who said he had been given photos of the players participating in a Sunday adult league game, which is a violation of CIF Bylaw 600.

KSBY obtained an email from Paso Robles head coach Omar McPherson that was forwarded to Paso Robles athletic director Anthony Rosales on February 1. That email was forwarded to Arroyo Grande on February 7. San Luis Obispo was never contacted by Paso Robles.

Once Brandow learned about the situation, he initiated an internal investigation and immediately contacted CIF about the violation. "I want to thank Arroyo Grande High School for being very upfront and honest, and contacting us and doing the honorable thing," Brandow said.

"All of the schools in our Central Coast community work collaboratively to ensure that we follow the rules," Fields said. "No one wants to willingly break the rules. If there is a problem, we want to know about it so we can take the proper action necessary to uphold the integrity of each athletic program, school, and community."

A meeting was held Thursday morning with the PAC 8 League athletic directors to vote on the outcome.

The following were possible solutions for the League moving forward: 

  • SLOHS boys varsity soccer team will be allowed to enter the CIF playoffs and represent the PAC 8 League.
  • SLOHS boys varsity soccer team will be allowed to enter the CIF playoffs and represent the PAC 8 League as the #1 seed.
  • SLOHS boys varsity soccer team will be allowed to enter the CIF playoffs and represent the PAC 8 League as the #1 seed and will be recognized as the League Champions

The majority voted against the possible solutions for San Luis Obispo, resulting in the Tigers forfeiting its current League record.

"We take full responsibility for breaking CIF bylaws and we're disappointed our soccer season will end tonight with our last game against St. Joseph High School," Brandow said. "As a school, we made a mistake and our hearts go out to the young men on the soccer team. We go into education to work with young kids and to go into a room and tell them that their season is going to end tonight is not an enjoyable thing. There's a lesson to be learned, we will learn from it, we will get better from it."

At one point during the season, the Tigers were ranked as the number one team in the state. This week, San Luis Obispo was ranked second in its division.

Arroyo Grande will become PAC 8 League champions while Paso Robles moves into second.

Paso Robles district athletic director Rich Clayton sent KSBY the following statement:

"Given the current climate and the speed with which information both accurate and inaccurate travels, Paso Robles wanted to take time and ensure that any and all information was correct. These are situations that involve students and adults who put in thousands of hours and compete under tremendous pressures. Teams often reach the highest praises when winning and see the lowest lows when the court of public opinion gets to reach out for a brief moment and provide judgment through multiple platforms. Paso Robles was not passing the buck but merely ensuring that what was presented to us was fact. Arroyo Grande was involved only because coaches make relationships and talk and they reached out to take a look at some grainy pictures to ensure that a real situation was taking place in our soccer league. The unfortunate piece is that we all lose. Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande lose because they have to report the situation. San Luis loses because one of the top teams has had to self-report.  And soccer fans lose because we don't get to see one of our best teams compete in the playoffs."

San Luis Obispo boys soccer played its final game of the season Thursday night against St. Joseph and won 2-0. It was an emotional season ending for the Tigers. 

"It was a challenge for our boys to come out knowing it was our last time. We controlled the ball the entire time and defended for 80 minutes while scoring two goals. I'm proud of these kids and they came out here to win our last game of the year. We won more games than anyone else in the league and no one can take that away from us," said James Boscaro, San Luis Obispo head soccer coach.

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