CIF Board of Managers modifies forfeit threshold, policy due to inadequate transfer paperwork

The CIF Board of Managers modified the post-season prohibition for excessive forfeits due to ineligibility while also modifying the penalties for an otherwise-eligible student whose school did not submit the proper transfer paperwork.

The unanimous June 5 voice vote changes the forfeit threshold for playoff prohibition from a specific number of games to a percentage of scheduled competitions while also making allowances for tournaments in which several games are played. The change on the forfeits due solely to inadequate paperwork limits the team forfeits while penalizing the school by eliminating home playoff contests for that season.

No transfer student is allowed to compete for their new school without sitting out a season unless a determination has been made by the CIF commissioner’s office. The school must complete the CIF application form for a transfer student and submit it to the CIF office.

If an ineligible athlete competes the team must forfeit all contests in which that athlete participated when he or she was ineligible. If the ineligible athlete participated in a scrimmage, the CIF commissioner determines whether the penalty will be a reduction of one contest from that season or one scrimmage from the following season.

Under the new rule if the transfer paperwork would have granted immediate eligibility, the team must forfeit only its initial win or tie in which the ineligible athlete participated. The team also loses its ability to host a playoff home game that season.

The change does not apply if the student was academically ineligible or if the CIF would not have granted a waiver from the requirement to sit out a season. “It’s only when that transfer paperwork has not been submitted to the CIF office,” said CIF commissioner Jerry Schniepp.

When the policy was first enacted, a school which forfeited three football games, five games in sports allowing 20 points was prohibited from playoff participation, or four contests in individual sports whose teams qualify for CIF championships could not participate in the CIF playoffs. The change prohibits teams forfeiting 30 percent of their scheduled contests, including at least two non-tournament games, from playoff participation in the absence of a successful appeal to the CIF commissioner. That change allows a similar portion of the season in all sports to correct an eligibility error prior to reaching the maximum number of games.

The prohibition against CIF playoffs due to forfeits only counts forfeits due to an ineligible player from grades, transfer, residency, suspension, or other reasons. Forfeits due to an insufficient number of players do not count towards the threshold, nor do forfeits by Jewish or Seventh-Day Adventist schools which do not continue games past sundown on Friday. In high school sports history outside of the San Diego Section, some teams which won contests due to a mathematical error voluntarily forfeited to reflect the true victor; such forfeits also would not be applied towards the threshold.

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