During a championship season for the Clayton Valley Charter High football team, North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon has put the school’s athletic department on probation for two years.
In a letter to Clayton Valley executive director Dave Linzey, Lemmon issued the probation based on violations of California Interscholastic Federation and NCS transfer rules within the football program and also outlined concerns he had about the school’s athletic department.
Clayton Valley, which faces Redlands East Valley in Saturday’s CIF Division II state title game, received no immediate sanctions. The probation is essentially a stern warning.
“They have been very cooperative and eager to review and adjust some of the eligibility processes to avoid any errors and maintain compliance with NCS rules and regulations,” Lemmon said of Clayton Valley in an email response.
In his seven years as NCS commissioner, Lemmon has put at least four schools on probation. He said any further infraction could result in the loss of games, elimination from the playoffs in a given sport or all sports, or removal from membership.
Lemmon issued the letter in late October, though the ruling became public earlier this month when the NCS posted its eligibility committee agenda to its website.
Clayton Valley already was on a one-year probation with the Diablo Valley Athletic League for holding summer football practices before the allowed start date.
Linzey said Monday that the school is working to address the issues that landed the athletic department and football team in trouble, though he has appealed the second year of the NCS’s probation.
“We want to follow the rules,” Linzey said. “We’re good people. There was no cheating, no desire to get an unfair advantage at all. Some of our folks are just learning the ropes and rules of the NCS.”
Football coach Tim Murphy also said the rules violations were unintentional and that two other NCS teams also held illegal summer practices but were not punished.
Lemmon cited violations regarding two specific football transfer cases in his letter to Linzey. Both students were denied their eligibility for the season, one for pre-enrollment contact and the other for undue influence. The football team had six players transfer into Clayton Valley this year, and three were denied eligibility.