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Maneuverings are about to begin in releaguing controversy

"How did this happen?"

That was the reaction of Oaks Christian headmaster Jeff Woodcock when Athletic Director Jan Hethcock told him the news on Monday night that the CIF Southern Section had placed the Lions in the parochial area for the 2014-18 releaguing cycle, which means Oaks Christian will have to move its sports teams in a league far from its Westlake Village campus.

Hethcock said the school intends to appeal the decision. Ditto for Ventura St. Bonaventure, which also was placed in the parochial area.

The maneuvering and strategy sessions have begun.

The Mission League held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, and a big discussion was the future of the league. Oaks Christian and St. Bonaventure both are prime candidates to be added to a league that already includes Loyola, Notre Dame, Crespi, Alemany, St. Francis, Harvard-Westlake and Chaminade in all sports but football.

"There wasn't specific discussions about moving this school," Loyola Athletic Director Chris O'Donnell said.

But it was clear that the process of releaguing will force athletic directors not to wait to see if any appeals are successful by March.

"We feel if we wait we only have three months to get it done," O'Donnell said about figuring out leagues.

Among the questions being asked at the Mission League meeting: How much class time is going to be missed? And does the CIF know what it's doing?

The big question is what will be the response of the Catholic Athletic Assn. and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The CIF spent more than $100,000 defending a recently settled 2-year-old lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Orange and Mater Dei over allegations of unfair treatment.

Now the Southern Section is ordering the CAA to find a league for St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian. Will the Archdiocese of Los Angeles decide to sue?

Oaks Christian is saying it won't go the litigation route. But others could make it an interesting 2013.

-- Eric Sondheimer

 
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