Jones’ move to Bonsall Unified School District won’t be issue for CIF

When David Jones first became the superintendent of the Vallecitos School District and the principal of Vallecitos School in 2011, the Vallecitos, Bonsall and Fallbrook elementary school districts all fed into Fallbrook High School. The Bonsall Unified School District board voted 5-0 to hire Jones as the BUSD superintendent Aug. 9.

The Bonsall district transitioned from a K-8 elementary school district to a K-12 unified district in 2014, and Bonsall High School was admitted to the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section in 2015.

Because Jones was the elementary school principal as well as the district superintendent, it is possible that Vallecitos students, including those who play sports, may choose to attend Bonsall High School rather than Fallbrook High School. A student-athlete who follows a coach to a specific high school may be subject to eligibility restrictions, but CIF Commissioner Jerry Schniepp said that any former Vallecitos student who enrolls in Bonsall High School rather than Fallbrook High School because of Jones will not be subject to eligibility issues.

“That will not be an issue for CIF if it relates to a superintendent,” Schniepp said.

Schniepp became the CIF commissioner in 2011.

“I’ve never dealt with that with an administrator,” said Schniepp. “Our rule specifically is about following the coach. We don’t have that language for a superintendent, for an administrator, for a teacher, for someone who does not coach.”

If a student has contact with a coach before entering high school and enrolls in a school which is not the regular one for their attendance area, the CIF may investigate the possibility of undue influence. At one time, eligibility restrictions also included incoming freshmen whose enrollment in a particular school was determined to be athletically motivated, although the San Diego Section recently eliminated the restrictions on athletically-motivated enrollment due to the difficulty of determining whether the decision was truly based on playing time or a coach’s system.

“This is part of our rule that has changed,” Schniepp said. “We would not make them ineligible because of that.”

The elimination of restrictions on athletic motivation also eliminates any potential eligibility restrictions on a student whose designated high school does not have a specific athletic program but who attends a different high school which fields that sport.

If a student is already enrolled in a high school, the CIF must approve a hardship waiver for a student who transfers without changing residence to be eligible immediately.

“Our transfer rules would apply,” Schniepp said. “For a seventh-grader or eighth-grader that has not enrolled in school, yet they are not considered a transfer student so if they’re not following their coach there wouldn’t be any eligibility restrictions.”

Schniepp noted that administrators frequently change schools.

“We’ve never had athletic-related issues with students following those people to schools, so I don’t anticipate that here,” said Schniepp.

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