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Additional evidence helped overturn decision on Mater Dei linebacker

October 8, 2010 | 12:50 pm

Todd Hunt, a linebacker who transferred to Santa Ana Mater Dei from Connecticut and was declared ineligible by Southern Section Commissioner Jim Staunton, won his appeal this week by submitting additional evidence showing his transfer was not for sports reasons, according to a copy of the decision obtained by The Times.

Despite the perception that a lawsuit filed on Sept. 29 by Mater Dei against the Southern Section might have influenced the decision, the three-person appeal panel cited a letter from the chief of police in Norwalk, Conn., and an abundance of newpaper articles documenting "a sequence of escalating violence and the dangerous and volatile atmosphere that currently exists in the community that Todd comes from."

Hunt had a brother stabbed death in 2008 in a gang-related brawl. He moved to Southern California to live earlier this year with long-time friend, Max Wittek, Mater Dei's quarterback. Staunton declared him ineligible, and the appeal panel supported Staunton's original decision but reversed it because of additonal information.

Hunt's attorney, Kevin Boyle, said in an e-mail, "Todd Hunt got caught in the crossfire of a gang war back east, and then the CIF-Mater Dei war out here. He was almost an innocent casualty of both wars."

Hunt, a senior, is eligible to play for the Monarchs immediately.

-- Eric Sondheimer