In working with all of the rules that govern the conduct of the interscholastic athletic programs in the CIF Southern Section, it has been my experience that the rules regarding undue influence are the ones that generate a tremendous amount of discussion. Perhaps no other subject elicits as much passion as this one and it is my belief that our membership will always want to have rules in place that prevent the recruiting of student-athletes by anyone associated with our member schools. That being said, the current situation involving undue influence in our section leaves many people frustrated and looking for ways to improve where we are today.
CIF Bylaw 510, Undue Influence, is defined as follows, “Undue influence is any act, gesture or
communication (including accepting material or financial inducement to attend a CIF member school for the purposes of engaging in CIF competition regardless of the source) which is performed personally, or through another, which maybe be objectively seen as an inducement, or part of a process of inducing a student, or his or her parent(s)/ guardian(s)/caregiver, by or on behalf of, a member school, to enroll in, transfer to, or remain in, a particular school for athletic purposes.)”
This rule is not difficult to understand. What is difficult is attempting to prove undue influence when it has occurred, and if that can be done, the ability to apply meaningful consequences to those who violate our rules. An absolutely essential element in trying to effectively control undue influence is the role that our principals, athletic directors and coaches play in following the rules that our membership has created. We depend on the leadership at our school sites to have a strong and unwavering commitment to setting standards of behavior for those individuals that they supervise, especially as it relates to Bylaw 510.
In an effort to examine where we are with undue influence today and where we might be able to go with undue influence in the future, the CIF Southern Section Executive Committee has created a sub-committee to study all aspects of the current situation in an effort to look for potential solutions to the problems we face in this area. I am participating as a member of this committee as well and we have already begun meeting to get to work on the task before us. Stay tuned for information that will be forthcoming from this committee in the hope that we can make a difference in the time ahead.
In closing, it must be reinforced to all involved that our current rules regarding undue influence must be followed. Adhering to our rules is a fundamental condition of membership in this outstanding organization and attention to doing so cannot be overlooked by anyone in a position of responsibility working with student-athletes at our member schools. I call upon our principals, athletic directors, coaches and parents to make sure they dedicate themselves to knowing all of our rules and if there are any questions about them to be sure to contact our office at any time. Working together, we can move forward in a positive way and truly live up to our motto, “Academics, Integrity, Athletics.”