CIF Central Section Rules Against Wasco
Tigers Forced To Forfeit

Posted by Zach Ewing, The Bakersfield Californian, on Oct. 8, 2009

The CIF Central Section has declared that Wasco has forfeited tonight's (Friday's) football game at Fresno-McLane.

There's just one problem: Wasco doesn't think it's forfeiting anything.

Wasco athletic director Raul Rangel said he has been in contact with the Fresno Unified School District on the issue since May, when McLane discovered that it wouldn't have a field available tonight. The FUSD asked if Wasco would agree to move the game to Thursday night.

Wasco declined; the high school is part of the California School Improvement Program and so is mandated to improve grades and test scores. The school's administration was concerned that a Thursday night game in Fresno would mean late travel hours for students who had to get up for school in the morning.

"We'd get home at 1 a.m. at the best," Rangel said. "And then kids have to get up for school at 6:30? This is not a football factory. We're trying to educate kids."

Throughout the summer, Rangel said he tried to find other accommodations for the game: Playing on Saturday or playing the game at Wasco, with the Tigers sharing a portion of the gate with McLane and even packing meals for its players to eat on the bus back home.

"I thought we were being more than generous," Rangel said.

But all of the options were either declined by McLane or never communicated from the FUSD to McLane, Rangel said. He also said he documented every correspondence he sent or received.

Eventually, the schools decided the game couldn't be played; Wasco (4-1) originally had an 11-game schedule because the section granted it an exemption to fill out Kennedy's schedule.

But the Porterville-based section and its commissioner, Jim Crichlow, said a game cannot simply be a cancellation unless sickness or other circumstances exist. Therefore, Crichlow said, the game would officially be a Wasco forfeit.

"We just can't say it's a non-game," said Crichlow, who added that the so-called defeat would not count against Wasco in Division IV playoff seeding. "When a team refuses to play, then it has to go down as a forfeit."

Rangel said the teams' contract specifically mentions the date of Oct. 9 and so by moving the game from Friday, McLane reneged on the deal first.

"We never forfeited anything," he said. "Does it sound to you like we forfeited? And the commissioner's going to have a fight on his hands."

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