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Football: It's deja vu time for Southern Section vs. Welch

April 21, 2010 |  9:21 am

Back in the early 1990s, the Southern Section determined that Canyon Country Canyon and Coach Harry Welch violated rules after a photograph ran in the Newhall Signal showing players using blocking dummies and tackling sleds in the off-season when they were not allowed. The Southern Section tried to impose a one-year suspension.

Welch went to court and ended up with a settlement. It also led the Southern Section to end attempts to impose punishments on coaches. It's up to the school to do so.

Fast forward to March 31. Welch, the new coach at Santa Margarita, apparently violated Southern Section undue-influence rules by holding a gathering of youth football coaches and players at the school's new Eagle athletic facility.

Santa Margarita Principal Ray Dunne imposed a punishment on Welch after the Southern Section deemed it a violation. Dunne refuses to reveal the punishment, saying it is a personnel matter. He also says Welch is not permitted to talk about the punishment. And the Southern Section is also mum.

It leaves me wondering if the Southern Section is really as powerless as it looks and why the Catholic schools always seem to hide behind a veil of secrecy.

Welch made a mistake. It isn't a fire-able offense, but keeping the punishment secret doesn't help deter anything. In fact, it creates confusion, speculation and added interest. And if Santa Margarita thinks we'll never find out what happened as far as the punishment, then good luck on that goal of replacing Mater Dei as the Orange County powerhouse.

-- Eric Sondheimer