SAN DIEGO — Facing calls to revoke the team’s championship and introduce new policies, the California Interscholastic Federation said it expects a ruling “during the upcoming week” on the controversial tortilla-throwing incident at a recent Coronado High School basketball game.
The statement from CIF, which governs high school sports in the state, came within hours of a letter from California state Sen. Ben Hueso demanding the “immediate revocation” of the team’s championship and new training for game officials.
“The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) fully appreciates the importance of this matter and the concerns involved. As previously stated, the CIF’s review process includes allowing each member high school and/or school district the opportunity to conduct an investigation into the incident and then provide the CIF with the results of their internal review,” the organization wrote.
“Upon receipt and review of the schools’ and/or school districts’ information, and further inquiry from this office if needed, the CIF will then determine what action is appropriate. The CIF is in the process of concluding our review, and unless circumstances dictate otherwise, we anticipate issuing the ruling of the CIF Executive Director during the upcoming week.”
In the aftermath of a championship game between Coronado and Orange Glen High School last Saturday, video showed tortillas being thrown onto the court and at Orange Glen players after Coronado won the game. It had been a fiercely competitive match that saw verbal sparring between the teams, fans and their coaches.
In its first statement on the matter, the CIF San Diego Section wrote in part:
Based upon the information we have received, in addition to what we have observed on social media, the actions that took place at the conclusion of the Division IV A State Regional Basketball Championship game held at Coronado High School are in direct opposition to the mission of education-based athletics and the California Interscholastic Federation.
“The CIF prohibits discrimination or any acts that are disrespectful or demeaning towards a member school, student-athlete, or school community.”
The man who says he brought the tortillas claims throwing the food was intended only to celebrate a victory, and that there was “absolutely no racial intent” in regards to the team’s opponent.
“I realize the tortilla throwing has been perceived as racially insensitive. I do not condone racially insensitive behavior, and that was not my intent,” he told FOX 5. “I apologize to all who were hurt by this and hope it can be a teaching moment for us all to become more conscious.”
Lizardo Reynoso, an assistant basketball coach at Orange Glen, told FOX 5 Monday that the team was “very offended and very hurt.” Mark Madore, a Orange Glen guard, said he’d never experienced anything like it. “I felt like we were really disrespected,” he said.
The Coronado school board has apologized to the Orange Glen school community, calling the act “egregious, demeaning, and disrespectful.”