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SoCalHoops High School News

Montclair Prep's New Players
Might Have To Wait--(Oct. 18, 2000)

The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore reported today on page two (Local Notes) that the three new players who recently enrolled, two from Serbia--Marko Bozovic (6'-9" Jr. F), and Slobodan Cvijovic (6'-4" So. G)--and one from Africa's Cameroon--Louh Blase' (6'-11" Jr. C)--may not be able to play this year unless their foreign exchange programs are approved.  Even though the three enrolled during the last two weeks, they were listed on the "Mounties" roster for the Double Pump 'Fall Pump Premier" Tournament which was held September 22, 23 & 24 at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

According to the Daily News article, "Their eligibility status will be determined by the State CIF office, according to Mounties athletic director Greg Reece. "I'm putting together all the paperwork and I'll forward it over to them and we'll go from there," Reece said.

As Vincent Bonsignore writes:  "Before the players can compete at the varsity level this year, the CIF must decide if their foreign-exchange program is approved for immediate eligibility. If it isn't, they might have to play this season on the junior varsity level, or possibly sit out the year. According to Reece, one of the Serbian players has family in the area, which is why he chose to attend Montclair Prep. All three became friends while playing for a world travel team." 

We checked our CIF Blue Book to see what the rules are, and they appear at Bylaw 214 "Transfer Eligibility."  This is a familiar problem, but when it involves foreign exchange students, there's a special twist.    Most everyone knows (given all the talk about transfers these day) that in order to receive immediate eligibility when a player transfers from one school to another, he must actually have a "bonafide change of residence (Bylaw 219) to the "attendance area of the new school with his parent(s), legal guardian, or caregiver with whom the student was living when the student established residence eligibility. . . .When a student transfers schools without such a bona fide residence change, he is ineligible for one year for varsity competition, and may only play JV sports.

The rules then provide that "A waiver of the transfer rule may be granted ot foreign students in accordance with the following::

        A.  APPROVED FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

Upon written applicaiton, a waiver of the transfer rule may be granted to students in approved foreign exchange programs, provided the student has been placed with ah host family in compliance with CIF Rule 510 (undue influence). The student will have the choice of attending either :a) the public school in the host family's public school attendance; b0 a private school located int he host family's public school attandance area.  To gain residential eligibility at any other school, the student must receive written approval from the principals of the public school located inthe host family's attendance area and the other school.

1. An approved foreign exchange program that fails to fulfill the State CIF conditions for exempt status shall be subject to immediate suspenion of its exempt status and subject to permanent loss of its exempt status after due process has been fulfilled.

2. Students involved in an approved foreign exchange program whose placement is not in accordance with State CIF conditions for exempt status are subject to loss of their residential eligibility (waiver of the transfer rule).

There are other conditions set forth in the Blue Book, i.e., age limitations, eight-semester maximum eligibility, and compliance with "all other CIF and Section rules".  The Blue Book then lists a number of "approved foreign exchange programs" (60 in all).  The rules then also provide that 'Any other foreign transfer student must be approved by the CIF Section."  The list which is printed in the Bylaws/Blue Book reflects the list of school foreign exchange programs listed approved by the State's Attorney General's office, and states that only schools who have registered with the AG's Office  may place international students in a California School, according to some provisions of the California Gov't Code (not relevant here).

The Southern Section has a further expanded on Bylaw 214, with Section 214.2,  which provides:  "If a student is under no program whatsoever, the student would be eligible for non-varsity competition only for one year from date of enrollment.  Approval is required."

This last section is followed up by a "Special Note" which is typed in ALL CAPS (just so no one misses it) .  We won't type the whole thing in all caps here because it just actually makes it harder to read.  We will capitalize those portions and underline to show where we think the commentary actually places the emphasis contained in the original text:

The criteria used for approving foreign exchange students is RANDOM HOME PLACEMENT OF THE STUDENT PRIOR TO THEIR LEAVING FROM THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.   The practice within the Southern Seciton is the approval ONLY of those students coming under the auspices of on of the approved programs."

After reading these sections, we thought we'd be more enlightened about the situation reported by Bonsignore, but we're really not.  Are all three players participating in an "Approved Program?"  If they are,   then the State CIF office likely wouldn't be involved, leading us to the conclusion that if Bonsignore's report is correct, then the real question must be approval of the program in which they've been placed.   Likewise, because Montclair Prep is one of the few schools which actually houses students on campus, it would also seem that the rules noted above regarding "host families" would have to be interpreted much less literally than they would for other foreign exchange students who actually do reside with host families during  their one year of eligibility.

In any event, we have no doubt that the three players will be granted the necessary waivers, and while we have not seen them play, we feel pretty confident in saying that with them, the Mounties will be an instant contender for a Southern Section Division V-AA title, and the State Divivion V title as well. 

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