Cathedral football team forfeits season

SAN DIEGO – Cathedral Catholic High School football team had to forfeit their season due to an ineligible player, athletic officials announced Tuesday.

The defending San Diego Section Division II champions were removed from the 2012 football playoffs after reporting to conference officials that an ineligible player took part in 10 games this season, CIF San Diego Commissioner Jerry Schniepp said.

“We regret to announce that Cathedral has forfeited its chance to defend their CIF championship,” Schniepp said. “Anyone who works in high school athletics is disappointed when something like this happens.”

CCHS Athletic Director David Smola was informed that an internal audit of transfer students’ documents discovered a clerical error affecting the eligibility a varsity players who had transferred from another high school this school year.

Smola disclosed the information to Schniepp on Friday. Schniepp commended Cathedral for self-reporting the violation, but said the conference by-law prohibits a team from taking part in the playoffs if more than three games are forfeited.

CIF officials withheld more details in order to protect the identity of the student.

58 comments

      • KEVIN

        I BELIEVE IT WAS AN ERROR, AND TO THAT POINT THERE SHOULD BE A PENALTY, LIKE A FINE FOR NOT REPORTING, BUT TO STOP ALL THE BOYS FROM PLAYING FOR A PAPER ERROR SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. THE BOYS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PLAY UNDER A MERCY PLEA WITH POSSIBLY THE NECESSITY TO NOT DRESS OUT THE PLAYER ONCE THE ERROR WAS FOUND IF THE BOARD DETERMINES THIS. TO TAKE AWAY A SEASON FROM THE PLAYERS IN THIS FASHION AFTER THE SCHOOL SELF REPORTED THE ERRORWOULD BE WRONG. IT UNDERMINES THE VALUES WE SET IN THEIR YOUNG HEARTS AND MINDS ABOUT HONESTY AND INTEGTITY, BUT MOST OF ALL TRUTH. THE NEXT TIME THEY ARE FACED WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A RIGHT DECISION, THEY WILL ALSO RECALL THIS TIME AND WHAT WAS TAKEN AND FACE A LARGER BATTLE, THE ONE FACED BY ADULTS DAILY AND THEY WILL SECOND GUESS THE RIGHT THING FOR THE OUTCOME OF THIS SMALLER ISSUEaDFULTS ARE MAKING RULE TO GOVERN THE YOUTH, LET’S MAKE A RULE THAT ALLOWS FOR A SYUDENT TO SELF REPORT AND REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM THE TEAM AND ALLOW THE TEAM TO CONTINUE. GOD BLESS

  • Football2

    They SHOULD be penalized for a clerical error, considering the fact that it was because of players that transferred over after already playing on a varsity team at a different high school. THAT is and never has been accepted. There is supposed to be a one year gap.

    • Football3

      That notion that there SHOULD be a one year gap is ridiculous. This isn't college, high school students don't redshirt.

    • Football4

      The football players had nothing to do with the mistake nor should be the ones punished for something they had nothing to do with.

  • saints

    There shouldnt be a one year gap,however they should forefeit becauase they screwed up themselves as a school to protect the student. I feel bad for that kid and I went to saints, But the school, how emberrasing.

  • DERRICK BARNET

    First of all they can recruit and bring any player they want in which in terms gives the a big edge on city school. They should be treated like any other school when theyre are cheating…Be punished season over ! Get there own private school league and they can do what theyve been doing all along CHEATING CHEATING CHEATING…..SORRY FOR THERE LUCK LOL LOL LOL LOL

    • kbt

      Really??? CCHS has repeatedly followed the rules, held kids out when rules weren't followed. They are a great example and anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they are talking about. They self reported this incident…tell me one other school in San Diego that would do that. Keep your mouth shut if you don't know your facts. Don't be a hater just because they are successful.

    • Tiffany

      Don't be jealous. Cathedral doesn't "recruit". Yeah they have a kick ass program, legit field and great access to awesome coaches and equipment, so people are OBVIOUSLY going to flock there. Saying that Cathedral cheats is a little pretentious to me. You are talking about punishing a bunch of 15-18 year olds and ruining the senior's football season. Sounds like you are out for blood and not justice…

      • San Diego Native

        That's exactly what is being said. It is unfortunate that the kids lose out but undeniable that kids are recruited there. Granted with all the facilities, great coaching and equipment, anyone would want to go there. The fact is kids come there from South County, Southeastern SD, Downtown, East County and North County that are not Catholic. They just "know" Cathedral is the best school??? Right. Sure, their families want the best but everyone doesn't have 14K available for high school tuition. So there is no way to afford the place, unless the knowledge is out there that funds are available, for the right kind of athlete, err.. student.

      • Dons

        players like tyler gaffney were recruited. its a known fact that they give out sports scholarships and can give them to kids outside their district. Source: I've played sports for CCHS….

    • Uni '76

      Yeah, right. Recruit my football stud kid just so I can pay $14k tuition, buy uniforms and books and attend religion classes. I don't think many parents send their kids to Cathedral for only sports purposes. The education quality speaks for itself at CCHS, as does the coaching and sports program quality. Not to mention many parents of athletes want a Catholic education for their kids.

    • Tyler Gaffney

      Well I guess I do not understand your frustration with losing all the time, but there is no need to take it out on a top notch program. The team is always a competitive school because its the best academic school in San Diego. The kids and coaches put in more effort than other programs and are better for that reason. Im sorry if your kids just can't hang with actual good athletes. Best of luck to the Cathedral Dons next year in reclaiming their title once again. #DONSAREWINNERS

  • Tiffany

    LOL CCHS will still kick butt next year it just sucks for all the seniors who dont get to play their senior year! LET THEM PLAY!

  • QL3

    Uni recruited back in the 80's when they stole Madison's two top basketball and baseball players, effectively decimating us. They should be held accountable for these actions. Feel bad for the senior kids though.

  • Rachel

    Oh wow that sucks the players have to pay for a clerical mistake…Cathedral is a great school with a great football team…just sad that this happened

  • John anderson

    Congrats to the Dons on a well played season and admitting their fault. In this world only the best succeed by admitting they made a mistake honestly and they will be back again next year without a doubt.

  • Footballer

    I didn't go to CCHS but I must say you'd think that the other teams playing them would want the opportunity to beat them on their own. Won't be a real CIF Championship if the defending Champions aren't participating. Just saying…

  • nonrecruit

    Wow! sad that people have to impersonate TYLER GAFFNEY on here to give their school some credability. Oh, you're an entitled kid who got recruited to go to CCHS? you poor thing!! Cheaters never prosper! LIFE GOES ON! Best of luck to all of the programs that got to the playoffs THE RIGHT WAY!

  • anonymous

    Both my boys go to Saints and we’ve been to some very exciting games between us and The Dons otherwise known as the Holy Bowl. I think perhaps the Cathedral parents should be proud of one thing their school was big enough to report this clerical error and as hard as that may be to the students who play, there are things that are more important than football and one of them is Integrity. Awesome job Cathedral, look forward to seeing you all on grid iron next year.

  • DonsDad2016

    Before I get to the heart of my comment let me first address some of the inaccurate statements written above. The Dons are Div 3 defending champs (5 yrs running) Yes Helix we're the defending Div 2 team and the Dons beat them this year. (they also beat the saints, again) the rules for transfers changed this year and do not necessarily require athletes to sit out the whole year. The student in question had never even played HS football prior to this season. The tuition is 14k but over 25% of the students receive tuition assistance based on household income. Now that some FACTS! Are out of the way let me address some more personal feelings.

    My son attends CCHS as a freshmen and is a pretty good athlete. My primary reason for sending my son to CCHS is because the California public education system sucks! I am an enlisted military member that has lived all over this country and overseas. As an enlisted Marine I could never afford 14k a year for tuition but this school worked with my wife and I to reach something possible. Even with the reduced tuition I had to get a second job to afford to send him there. If I have to get a third job to keep my child there I will. Before I attended an open house at CCHS I was not sure it was worth the money but that one day changed my mind. My son took a placement test (yes the kids have to be smart enough to handle the work load) and he scored in the 80th percentile for the nation. Although I consider that pretty good he only scored 48th percentile among CCHS student body. The student to teacher ratio is far below California public schools, the kids have IPads with their textbooks on them and every classroom has a smart board. Many of the teachers are former students who returned there to teach because of the education they received. (haven't said much about sports yet) There are no gangs in the school, I have not heard of a single incident involving drugs (if they are there it is on a very small scale) The children I encounter there are respectful, come from every economic, racial and cultural backgrounds. The students there can receive detention if they fail to wear a belt to school ( I am a service member and I like that) At the freshmen orientation there this year the first thing they told us "welcome to the CCHS family" and it has felt that way since we have been there. The students are required to perform community service to help those less fortunate all four years they attend. (still no sports) this school and the education he is receiving there will open more doors for him than any San Diego HS. CCHS holds health screenings the largest college fair in SD and allows students from all over SD to attend.

    I think I have covered just a few of the reasons I work my ass off to send my child there so lets talk about athletics. Last year CCHS won 12 section titles and 1 state title (that's more than any other HS in San Diego) I must be a bad father for wanting my kid to experience that right? But beyond winning titles I do not want child to be coached by some asshole bent on championships. During my sons first season of high school football I believe he was instructed by the best coaches he has ever been around. I attended every single Freshman/JV and Varsity game and saw that the discipline displayed by the players was better than every team they played. My son is a good football player and I can only hope he is fortunate enough to play for Coach Doyle as a sophomore next year. You know as well as I do that most coaches and schools would have never reported that player. I could go on all day with this but I will cut it short. Just know my son will be better educated, better prepared for life and better coached than any where else in San Diego. Knowing that, parents might look at their own children and ask "how important are my kids and their education to me" Don't get me wrong I don't want most idiots coming to this school. If you as a family have the stuff, check it out. Money well spent, see your school next year in the losers bracket! Go Dons

    • sd_mom

      Awesome! Can you let me know exactly who I need to talk to in order to get them to "work with me" on tuition? You see, I work my ass off, too. My kids are smart, too. Whew! I thought my kids were going to have to go where "most idiots" go (you know, the "losers bracket!").

      I guess I should mention that my kid doesn't play football. But it totally sounds like that doesn't matter. Woohooo! Idiot-free Winners Bracket here I come! Thanks so much for sharing the FACTS with us, Dons Dad. You're a peach.

      • C Howell

        The facts are accurate and well said. I am proud of my football player at Cathedral and proud to call Save Smola and Swan Doyle friends.

      • jamie

        If you want your kid at cathedral, call em up. They would be more the HAPPY to try and work with you so your kid can go there. Don't be butt hurt because the public school system in San Diego SUCKS.

    • Cali Kid

      Wow, I'm really impressed that a Marine knows how to actually write. In paragraph form enough!! Obviously a POG Marine since sitting on your butt and watching every game instead of being deployed like real Marines. You're the reason that most people hate CC since you all act arrogant and entitled.

    • rob

      Two jobs and still have the luxury of sitting on your ass to watch EVERY game? Seems like you could do a little more on your end to cover the enrollment, being stateside and all. Your references to "Idiots" and "loser bracket" seem a bit misdirected.

      Glad to hear your son will be better educated and better coached, too bad he couldn't be better parented.

    • Momof2

      DonsDad2016 – All the good things you were trying to say were completely negated by your offensive language, bad attitude, and name calling. I truly hope that CCHS is teaching your child better manners, a higher level of integrity, and a broader vocabulary because you clearly are not up to the task!

      That being said, I was very impressed that CCHS did self-report their "error" and am very sad for the players. My son plays football for a public HS (dare I say it!) and know that the kids on our team would be devastated by this turn of events. Hopefully in the future more care will be taken when completing paperwork and checking for player eligibility.

    • PublicEducation#1

      Wow, just so you know all my 6 kids are attending public schools. 2 are in college. 1 is at UC Irvine and the other is at CSSMU while the other 4 are getting a great public education and are looking forward to receiving a college education in the future. I agree there are bad public schools no different than private. There is good and bad in everything. No school is perfect. You obviously weren't involved in your childs education when he attended a public school. How sad that you have to come on this site and bash the public education. I can only imagine what other issues you don't agree with. Maybe you should consider getting an education at CCHS because from what I've read you are so far from the truth and to think that any other kid not getting a private education will never be as great as your child is ridiculous. You think not wearing a belt is a huge thing wow you have never really been out there have you. My kids have always done community service since they were little because that is what I have taught them. You don't need a school to tell you that you have to do it. Just so you know all HS have that as well because the College applications are now requiring it. You definitely are a dumbass and I feel for your son if this is what you have made him believe. You won the Jackass of the Decade award.

  • les

    still punishing everyone for one persons bad deed…good thing we don't do that with our justice system. We would all be in Jail!!!!

  • Mark Atwater

    The punishment belongs to the administration and the student involved should need to sit out the season. It's time to stop punishing all of the kids for the actions of one individual or administrative failures. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the kids, for some, possibly even effecting their career outlook if being pursued by scouts, etc. The difference that one player could have made in any of the games played is very minimal and chances are had no effect on the outcome of all those games played. It is very disappointing that the entire league, entire administration and the entire school board can be so blindsided as to not come up with a better solution to punish the school and possibly the individual as needed without effecting all the other kids lives involved. RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Julie

    WOW!!! All you people bashing the public school system, shame on you!!! Yes, Cathedral is a good school, but so are MANY of the other public and private schools in San Diego!! Maybe those bashing other schools should look at themselves in the mirror. Lets just say many kids from these so called horrible public schools become doctors, lawyers, accountants ect. I mean come on stop the BASHING and act like adults people….

  • Ken

    I agree with STOP THE BASHING person. I m sure we all feel we are doing the best for our kids and for some one like the person above to say cathedral is the best school is great, but in reality we all know its what they get from HOME that is the true testament of it all!! My child also attends a private very good school here in SD. I know many kids who attend public HS’S that are getting axing educations as well! I think we need to love our kids, encourage our kids and stop bashing the system. It is too bad the had to forfeit, but the rules are the rules and I know for fact public school have had similar times that they had to pull star players or forfeit do to In eligible players so, again cathedral is not the only school in SD with integrity and pride in education!!!!

  • Dave Zeller

    Cathedral and their coach have run a stand up program for years and I feel bad for all the players and the seniors especially. I am a parent from another high school who would much rather see Cathedral beat on the field in a fair game, like Torrey Pines did this year, then due to a clerical error.

    I know it doesn't matter from a rules standpoint, but was the player involved even a key contribitor to the team's success. In years past Cathedral could still win with a loss of any one of their star players. They play team football.

  • Hammer

    This is Ridiculous, these are high school kids living there dream to play football and grow as men. Football teaches you more about the real world than any classroom will. This is one transfer student who went through the whole season with no problems and was committed to the team just like everyone else. Especially since it was the school that self reported itself. CIF should commend CCHS for being the stand up program that it is. There are nothing but class act individuals on that team and this is coming from a TPHS grad. CIF should immediately cancel all penalties to CCHS and let them defend there championship just like ever other school. They did nothing wrong and no buddy in the county would even know about this if it wasn't for the stand up individuals at CCHS. PLEASE PLEASE ALLOW THE KIDS TO PLAY CIF IS MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE.

    • Jake

      I think the players should play the game and have the JV Coaches coach the team.
      NO VARSITY COACHES SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE AT THE GAME!!!!
      AND NO ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND!!!!!

  • Jake

    People stop with the comment about a clerical error! Let's get our facts in order!!!
    CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC:
    1. Used a ineligible player who played in all ten games.
    2. Did not turn in ALL of the paperwork on that transfer player.
    3. Had you turned in the paperwork the CIF would have rule that player ineligible.
    4. CCHS didn't even give the CIF a chance to rule on that player once he transfered.
    5. So now these kids that worked so hard, they have to suffer.
    6. THIS IS MUCH BIGGER THAN A MISSED STAMP COACH DOYLE!!!

  • Shawn Sommer

    How about…. ‘hey new kid; did you play at your pre ois school? You did… ok you will have to sit out for his season’ Did the coaches not know where he came from? Why did it have to come to a clerical error? I feel sorry for all the other players!

  • Da Lunch Lady

    Who is the lame-o who would even think that Gil Warren would even say something like that? Yes. Olympian would like the opportunity to replay CCHS, and a win would nice. Easy, well you have to look at the other teams who want a title too! Don't be to cocky….

  • AdviceDude97

    The school knew the rules and they knew the consequences, so there's no disputing because the rules were always there. If they don't like the rules, then they should have never played in the first place. Like any other team, if one falls, they all fall – the fault of a few will fault the entire team. So learn from your mistakes and this won't happen again.

  • Journalism Major

    Guys, you are all missing the point. The words "clerical error" are spin. Go investigate, see what the actual failure was, THEN make your assessment of whether the punishment fit the crime. In the old days, the media would actually be a "journalist" and investigate. Fox 5, if you want to write about this like a real journalist, do the work – then make the call.

  • Patrick Henry grad

    Postscript. If you really want to encourage the proper debate (as the comments would suggest should be done), start really INVESTIGATING the transfer students and "scholarship" athletes at the high school level, then write about what is 'fair." Does Mt Carmel or Mission Bay (as public schools) have the ability to use "scholarships" for their athletes? Do TPHS boosters (yes, "boosters" like the ones highly regulated at the NCAA level) provide housing or cars (often indirectly) for athlete families? Do the private schools have an unfair advantage by their free tuition abilities? DO THE WORK, Fox 5. There is a story there that no one has the guts to write.

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