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Judge grants preliminary injunction against CIF

An Orange County Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction barring the CIF Southern Section from disclosing the punishment imposed by Santa Margarita for violating CIF rules last March.

The Times had filed a request under the California Public Records Act seeking access to Southern Section documents and information detailing the punishment. Santa Margarita and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange successfully gained a temporary restraining order preventing release of the penalty.

On Friday, Judge Steven L. Perk ruled that the punishment was part of a personnel matter and applies to an  exception of the California Public Records Act. A CIF attorney had argued in seeking to release the information that "CIF needs to uphold its accountability to the public."

Santa Margarita has admitted violating undue-influence rules in a March 31 open house in which football Coach Harry Welch addressed youth football parents. The Southern Section sought to impose a one-year playoff ban for the football team but later agreed to a different penalty after Santa Margarita offered a compromise. The Times attempted to find out the specifics of the penalty through the California Public Records Act.

The next step in the case is setting a trial date.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.


This is less about SMCHS than it is about CIF not doing a good job of enforcement. CIF had an opportunity to penalize the school appropriately, but chose to let the school treat it an an internal personnel matter. Once that happened, case closed, as would be the case if it were a public school coach. Personnel files are confidential for a reason, and CIF just got outfoxed on this one.

Tricky Dicky

This injunction will be short lived. It will come down to the interpretation of the Brown Act and written versus verbal corespondence. Also, the overlapping jurisdiction of the California Public Records Act. Judges tend to go with the spirit of the law not some nit picking interpretation as is the case here.


I totally understand all comments and agree with most (except the church bashing, no entity is perfect, not even churches - but let's not go there McCrazy). I guess my issue is that aside from the private personnel issues, there appears that there may be a violation that could positively impact SM Football and it was done in an illegal manner. Therefore, it is cheating and cheats should be exposed. Very simple logic here folks.


More secrets from the Catholic Church? Well since Santa Margarita thinks they are above the CIF rules they should just kick them out.

James Gossett

to Jimbo -
How is the CIF not a public agency? The schools themselves started CIF. Public schools pay to be a part of CIF. Yes, private schools pay also, but I don't know of any public secondary school district that has sports that are not a part of a CIF section. So if our property tax dollars go to public high schools, and those high schools use some of their money to pay their yearly dues to a CIF section, doesn't that make the CIF a public agency (that private schools decide to join).


Neither SMCHS nor CIF-SS are public agencies, so it appears that the California Public Records Act is not applicable; however if CIF-SS has bylaws stating that school penalties are open for public inspection, then LAT might have a chance in getting a peek at the document.


Personnel issues of private organizations should remain private. That is a reasonable expectation of privacy all employees have with private-sector employees. Whether they work for financial institutions, newspapers or private schools.


This is just wrong. Dioes this judge have some kind of relationship with Santa Margarita? I thnik the CIF attorney is right on with his comment. What is Santa Margarite hiding? that there really was no punishment at all? Hope they sleep well at night knowing they are cheats!


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