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Paly takes blame for girls' lacrosse forfeits

Original post made on Apr 21, 2012

Members of the Palo Alto girls' lacrosse team should have been feeling good as they walked off their field on Friday night following a 10-8 victory over rival Gunn in a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League match. The Vikings should have been tied for first place, but they weren't. Read the full story on [Web Link PASportsOnline.com].

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 23, 2012, 9:48 AM

Comments (46)

Posted by Paly Girls Lacrosse Player, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

We learned in beginning journalism class that it is important to have objectivity in a news story. It frustrates me that a professional journalism publication would only quote one person, especially in this story, when this is a very complex situation abundant with miscommunication. It would be advisable to seek out other perspectives. The situation with CCS is very unfortunate, but the player to which the story refers to is not to blame, since she was under the impression that all necessary paperwork had been filled out and turned in. I would also like to highlight what a successful season we have had, and make sure the community knows that we continue to be united as a team, wish to move forward and strive to finish out the season strong. We would love to see the community come out to support us at our remaining home games!


Posted by Failure of Leadership, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm

It is the coach's responsibilty to decide who takes the field.
The adults didn't do their jobs here, and someone should lose their job for cowardly blaming a student.


Posted by sam the man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Something is just not right here. I would never blame a kid but i have to wonder why the family didn't have to proper paperwork and why would the family foolishly try to jeopardize a team? Every athlete and their family knows that you have to have the clearance in order to participate in high school sports. Something smells fishy here... Also,how did CCS find out? Did the former coach of the transfer player file a complaint? Did the family say that the paperwork was on the way? Someone here thought that they could get away with it??? They almost did since the season is near it's close. What a shame for the team. I don't think that they deserve this treatment. They are the true victims of this fiasco. I hope that the team plays well the remainder of the season.


Posted by Palo alto resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm

"Sam the man", the family most definitely did not try to jeopardize the team, they were unaware of this whole ordeal and were under the impression that all the necessary paper work had been completed, they are definitely not the ones to blame for this.


Posted by Shouda, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

As a former coach at Paly, all I can say is that this bad coaching.


Posted by lack of communication , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:00 am

this is definitely not on the coach or the family.


Posted by member, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:03 am

the fact that this article was published with out the full story is utterly ridiculous, I am sure that the family that this is happening to and the families of the other team members would not be okay with something like this being out for everyone to read about especially since it is not the whole truth of what is going on.


Posted by Ridiculous , a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:05 am

This is definitely not on the family, there was clearly miscommunication and they should not have to deal with the blame for this.


Posted by PA resident , a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:10 am

I am appalled at how the coach, family, and especially the athlete are getting blamed for this. something doesn't "smell fishy", obviously it was an administrative mishap. I'm sure the family and team members do not appreciate an article such as this one being posted.


Posted by sam the man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:26 am

How can you be so certain, "Ridiculous" and PA Resident? It sounds like you know what is going on. Please share with us. I am a skeptic until I know the whole story. We all know what some parents will try to do in order to get their kids into PA schools and play for the high school teams. I am just saying that I find it hard to believe that a parent would transfer from another school and NOT know that you must have the official permission to play from CCS. It clearly states this in every schools official sports rules.


Posted by fault, a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 22, 2012 at 8:47 am

It's the responsibility of the coach to take care of these matters and to bring them to the attention of the Athletic Director. The Athletic Director files the paperwork with CCS. Given that the Athletic Director has been at his job for over 20 years, I suspect he knows the rules and follows them quite well. Plus, he said in the article that this is the first that he heard of the issue.

I know from experience that it's the responsibility of the coach to handle these issues before the student plays in a game. The coach needs to own this one.

It's not about blaming anyone. It's just that the responsibility lies with the coach.


Posted by Parent of a varsity player, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

Regardless of who is to blame or who did not handle the transfer correctly, the focus right now needs to be on the athletes who are playing the remaining games. This guessing and chatter is nothing more that that... background noise. It gains nothing. Eventually this will get figured out and, at that point, we can move ahead with all the facts. The players have only a small number of regular season games remaining. We, as parents and the Paly community, need to unconditionally support the coach and players both on and off the field. Without a cohesive team (including the coach) they can not succeed. Let them play (without the drama). Go Vikes!


Posted by Paly Girls Lacrosse Player, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

I am appalled that community members are jumping to ridiculous conclusions about our coach and fellow teammate and her family. Please try to understand that this article does not accurately represent what happened. I speak for my entire team when I say that we all love, respect and admire our coach. She would NEVER try to jeopardize the team in any way and is in fact handing this situation with the utmost poise, dignity and care, as is the athlete and her family. I would urge "sam the man," "fault" and "shouda" to do research before posting ignorant comments that unfairly place the blame on innocent people.


Posted by Former Paly student, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Hasn't this happened to other Paly teams in the past? Shouldn't the Athletic Director, whom was in charge at the time of the other incidents as well, be held responsible for both this and past incidents? Why wasn't all the paper work taken care of? Isn't this his and Kathy Laurence's responsibility?


Posted by Ali, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm

How can a piece of paper cause this much heartache for so many people? It might have been more fair if they had only disallowed the goals of the player who had transferred, but I don't know the rules of the league.

For sure, no amount of bureaucracy can take away the athletic achievements of the girls on the field.


Posted by fault, a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Posted by Paly Girls Lacrosse Player, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, 8 hours ago

I am appalled that community members are jumping to ridiculous conclusions about our coach and fellow teammate and her family. Please try to understand that this article does not accurately represent what happened. I speak for my entire team when I say that we all love, respect and admire our coach. She would NEVER try to jeopardize the team in any way and is in fact handing this situation with the utmost poise, dignity and care, as is the athlete and her family. I would urge "sam the man," "fault" and "shouda" to do research before posting ignorant comments that unfairly place the blame on innocent people.

----Actually, it is the coach's responsibility to communicate with the Athletic Director and make sure the paperwork has been submitted for each and every transfer student.



Posted by Former Paly student, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, 3 hours ago

Hasn't this happened to other Paly teams in the past? Shouldn't the Athletic Director, whom was in charge at the time of the other incidents as well, be held responsible for both this and past incidents? Why wasn't all the paper work taken care of? Isn't this his and Kathy Laurence's responsibility?

-----The article isn't clear why the paperwork wasn't taken care of, other than the transfer student wasn't "known" as a transfer student to the athletic director. You are correct that the athletic director is responsible for filing the paperwork BUT it is the responsibility of the coach to communicate this information to the athletic director. And yes, it's also the administration's job to make sure this happens. No idea who is manning the athletic ship at Palo Alto HS but whatever administrator oversees sports, it's on them too.


Posted by Womens Lax Fan, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

CIF Does have a lot of forms to complete but the school administration knows when they receive a transfer student. When they submit forms to become eligible to play a sport and get cleared at Paly one of the questions is "Did you ever play for another school?" obviously the answer was overlooked and has led to a suspension for a year and forfeit of games which no one likes. No conspiracy just a mistake that unfortunately has consequences for the student athlete and team.


Posted by Nora, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

All of thesse schools seem to have cast of 1000,s tripping over each other working as administrative aides,couldn,t someone have picked up the ball and gotten the job done right!


Posted by k, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

"All of thesse schools seem to have cast of 1000,s"

key word = 'seem'

seem: To appear to one's own opinion or mind


Posted by student, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

similar thing happened to paly's boys basketball team a few years ago. ended up forfeiting a lot more than just six games i believe. paly's athletic director and the overall sports program need to watch out and prevent this from happening again in the future because it is not a rumor that they (coaches and AD) do try and go out and also receive a lot of transfer students, which obviously would help their sports programs a lot.


Posted by A Very Simple Explanation, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Earl does not do his job as Athletic Director. That is the explanation here. He spends 90% of his time on the football program. He ignores lacrosse and most other sports. Especially girls sports.

He knows the Farino's - contrary to what is stated here. He was informed of the fact she was a student repeatedly. He just failed to do his job - perhaps an oversight, but he fully understands what was required and the consequences of this are huge.

I hope he will have the courage to stand up and admit his failure in today's meeting. It is not Jamie's fault, it is not Julie's fault. It is 100% a failure of the leader of the Athletic Department.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Yes - Coach Hansen is the AD. However organizational and communication skills are not his best traits. And I would agree that football is his primary concern.

And I agree - this is the second time this has happened at Paly in recent history.

BTW - 2 people were quoted, Hansen & Winston. Not 1.

The coach, knowing his/her AD by now, should have followed up with the AD to make sure all was done correctly. CYA.

The important thing to consider here is that I doubt anyone wanted to cheat the system. And I certainly don't believe that anyone is in the blaming mode. Fix the systematic problem to avoid future mistakes. Live and learn.

That being said, Paly should consider placing an administrative AD in place at a minimum. Someone who knows what has to be done, maintains the proper processes and channels of communication. Someone who is available to all of the Olympic sports at Paly.

My 2 cents.


Posted by Papa John , a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Having coached high school sports for over 15 years and dealing with many transfers over the years I was fortunate enough to have an AD who made sure all paper work was in order before any particular player was allowed to play. In my opinion the AD ultimately is responsible, he is the Administrator in this situation. However, any coach who has been around for a while should also be aware that this paper work has to be taken care of. Sorry to say but both are a bit to blame. If we aren't blaming the AD, the Coach, or the Family tell me who then is to blame?


Posted by So Disappointed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

Several disappointments in the process and at the meeting - but one great thing too -

1. Family did not stand up in the room and say how devastated or saddened or sorry or whatever they are on behalf of the team and themsevles that this happened. Such a comment can be made without any "admission" of ownership/liability/blame - just a pure factual acknowledgment. What a disappointment to witness such an obvious omission.

2. Comments by Phil Winston in response to:

a. statement by current player that the transfered player received, and told the team about!, prom tickets from Mr. Winston for free. If true, what poor judgment by Mr. Winston! The player rightly wondered why the transfered player was getting such support and not the rest of them . More shocking was Mr. Winston's comment, upon hearing this statement, "no good deed goes unpunished!" Why not "you are right - that was a lapse of judgment." Or "Wow, you make a good point; I wasn't thinking clearly." His quip reflects his defensiveness and some disingenousness about the processs [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

b. In response to very articulate and reasonable request by Bill Glazier that the administration provide more support of the lax program in general, Mr. Wintson said things like "if you could clone us" or "we are only human." Agreed; you are all extremely busy, and we respect that. But, that is part of the job. Indeed, Supt. Kevin Skelly was at Friday evening's game (7:00 pm) for the entire game, and eating his dinner burrito on the sideline! Furthermore, I have been at other meetings w/ Mr. Winston where in the context of promoting Paly (rightly so) he mentioned attending games (football, volleyball) both home and away - bringing his children - and clearly in off hours. Why not say instead to Mr. Glazier, "you are right; there needs to be more administrative support of all the teams." "Great idea; when is the next girls' game?" Or "I plan to announce via infiinte campus that the dates and times of the girls final home games and encourage the student body come out to support them." Again, his quips were defensive and hollow.

3. NOT disappointed to hear suggestion from a parent that Mr. Hanson have volunteer support by parents to help with the administrative parts of his job, and his acceptance of that offer - in combination with offer by another parent that the Boosters fundraise for an assistant to Mr. Hanson. Here's a great plan - line up some outstanding and reliable parent volunteers for the role while fundraising for someone part or full time to be his right hand man or gal. I think the sports community would very much support this effort by finding a qualified volunteers initially, and then contributing to the salary of a paid assistant to replace those volunteeers. Where do we sign up to help?



Posted by Lax Lover, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Mark Weiss , a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 10:26 am

If they had only read the Campanile back in February maybe they could have headed this off:
Web Link
Also, ESPN reports that Paly's Julia Farino is verbally committed to play collegiate lacrosse for Marquette. So if you are good enough at something to be in the spotlight, you better also watch your back.
The basketball player that caused the forfeits was Ed Hall who had already graduated high school in Australia, before playing for Diepenbrock at Paly.

I think youth sports generally are too professional these days. Let kids play.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

Before any more dumping on the family - do you know what they did or didn't do? I suspect not. For all anyone knows, they followed the proper procedures and that Paly Admins dropped the ball. Further, the principal states in the article that the family is not responsible for the failure --- so why exactly are they to blame and/or required to apologize? Apparently they did nothing wrong...

The CCS transfer sheet is 2 pages long. The parents have to sign the sheet. The ADs, Head Coaches & Principals from both old and new schools have to sign the form as well. So what hasn't been explained, is whether or not the transfer form had been filled out, signed or submitted correctly.


Posted by laxbro, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

"But, that is part of the job. Indeed, Supt. Kevin Skelly was at Friday evening's game (7:00 pm) for the entire game, and eating his dinner burrito on the sideline!"

Not too surprising as his daughter is on the Gunn team.


Posted by Mark Weiss , a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

February 2008 Weekly has article and a long comments section on a lot of these topics, about Ed Hall and Paly basketball forfeits, and the Gunn-Paly acrimony (which is a lot worse than in my day, or when Keith Peters was in high school).

Web Link

The Jeremy Lin case is topical because he played for JLS not Jordan, then Paly but not Gunn, but Skelly was asked recently about this and ruled "no blood no foul" basically.

I think Jim Harbaugh was actually the first Gunn-zoned Paly star, although it is also true that the Gunn famous tennis dynasty in the 1970s and 1980s included people who lived in Portola Valley or transferred in from other places. But the situation seems worse now, the Gunn-Paly rivalry and the pre-professionalism of youth sports.

Here it is about a star player for Menlo Atherton switching to Palo Alto, although this might be the first time that the problem has creeped over to girls' sports.

Or are we saying that if the admins had done their paper work there is no ethical consideration about what is a teammate, a neighbor, a community or playing by the rules? Amateurism means playing for love not power or money or free prom tickets.

I saw Paly boys hoops with Jeremy Lin and two or more arguably ineligible players crush Richmond High whose best player had to sit out for saying "the f-word" in NCS previous game and thought it did a disservice to Paly's kids for them to think the world will always give them 50 point routs and people working behind the scenes for their benefit...

Sports are a microcosm of real life and we should all win a mere 50 percent and lose a few, and be happy we had the opportunity to be here at all.


Posted by Mark Weiss , a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

I don't know this family at all and there might be dozens of reasons a student who attended M-A one year would attend Paly the next, regardless of whether he or she is also an excellent athlete, and in the spotlight for such. But since this case is being reported in a sports context per se, it seems fair to comment on this in light of current sports and sports sociology trends.

By the way, I also met Ed Hall's parents and found them utterly impressive and charming people.

I certainly wish only the best for the family "in the crease" here -- or is that hockey term and not lacrosse? -- in prep sports, college sports and life.

And I covered women's lacrosse for my college paper back in 1985.


Posted by Know your facts, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:30 am

To Mark Weiss and Crescent Park Dad :

know your facts; and to be clear facts aren't what you read about in the press, cause as we all know journalists tend to have a distorted view of the facts as may be.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A simple process, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

Boy this seems like a really simple problem to solve ..

Add to current process:

1) Make the completion of an eligibility form part of the registration prior to tryouts for each sport for everyone.
2) Add to final roster selection a step to verify completion of the this form (this includes all signatures required and verification from CCS that the forms are submitted.)

I would suggest for (each team)a team parent volunteer is assigned to make sure this occurs prior to first game.

What am I missing?


Posted by So Disappointed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

I would like to clarify and elaborate on my comment about about what I had hoped from the family at yesterday's meeting - because some of the subsequent comments from others misconstrued what I wrote or at least intended.

I am not asking for an apology from the family for what they did or did not do, or an admission or acceptance of any responsibility; what I am suggesting is that they should have stood up and said "We/I am sorry (sad about, disappointed, devastated - whatever they feel) that this has happened." That is no admission. That is acknowledging the facts and sharing a feeling about it. In other words - simple validiation of what is happening and the consequences. I do not know that it matters whether or not they feel personal remorse about their actions or in actions; and getting to the bottom of that is useless right now. But I cannot believe they do not have some feelings about the impact on the team - which team includes the daughter. I would assume those feelings include a sadness or regret or disappointment or embarrassment or something for the consequences of what happened or did not happen to their daughter and the team. There does not need to be any blame here; it serves no function, and indeed Phil Winston and Earl Hanson have taken that on. So let's get off the family's back about what they did or did not do - and now hold them to the higher and more important standard of expressing some public compassion of and validation for what this means to their daughter and the team, and the lax program. That is not a useless effort - that will bring this matter to closure so we can clean up the inadequate structures in place and hold the administration's feet to the fire to make sure this never happens again.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I don't know where the illegal transfer stuff came from (above) - but it is perfectly legal for a resident of PAUSD to attend either HS. They have set up attendance boundaries, but there obviously is a way for students to attend either HS. This has nothing to do with CIF eligibility because the students are attending schools within their district and the district has a policy that allows students to petition to attend the HS outside of their normal attendance boundary.

The transfer from another school/district, such as M-A is not nearly clean cut. If the family moves into the PAUSD attendance area, then there is nothing wrong - except that (even if they legally live within PAUSD boundaries) they still have to fill out CIF transfer paperwork - you just can't show up to school and start playing. Essentially the CIF wants to ensure that there is no monkey business going on - that's why both schools must verify and sign the form.

The real issues come up with students transferring between schools without changing residential status. If above board, typically the student will have to sit out 1 year (except when the transfer takes place before sophomore year), unless some sort of hardship waiver has been accepted. For example, a PAUSD resident who attends a private school, then transfers into his/her public HS due to inability to pay the tuition at the private school, etc.


Posted by Member, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

"Winston added that the student and family are not responsible for the situation."


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Also need to point out that filling out the paperwork is not the end of the process of course. CCS still needs to approve and grant eligibility. That process can take a couple of weeks sometimes.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The family in no way was out to jeopardize the team, and it is appalling to me to read that people think they would do such a thing like that. To the people who claim that they did, clearly do not know all the facts. To the adults blaming a teenage girl for this, well that is just disappointing.


Posted by sam the man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Guaranteed, if this was one of Earl's precious football players, Earl would have followed up multiple times to make sure that nothing "fell through the cracks".


Posted by Know your facts, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Not cool PAonline to randomly remove comments from this discussion. This exhibits a bias that is not only against constitutional rights but as well eliminates the possibility of providing objective and factual input.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hansen is a joke. If it doesn't pertain to football he doesn't care about the student or the sport. Sad to see all the other sports and athletes not get any support from the athletic director or athletic program. Hansen keeps coaching staff that doesn't do there job. Complaints were made to Hansen about the boys varsity coach and continues to do nothing. How can you have a Gunn high school Teacher as the Paly Varsity Boys coach??? And to top it off Mr Briggs tells the students at Gunn how much he dislikes the boys on the Paly Boys soccer team....ummm Hansen don't you think this is a conflict of interest. Can someone at Paly wake up and get decent athletic coaches...Hansen, Winston, Berkson....someone...anyone!!!! Come on before you've turned off student athletes for good.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hansen is a joke. If it doesn't pertain to football he doesn't care about the student or the sport. Sad to see all the other sports and athletes not get any support from the athletic director or athletic program. Hansen keeps coaching staff that doesn't do there job. Complaints were made to Hansen about the boys varsity coach and continues to do nothing. How can you have a Gunn high school Teacher as the Paly Varsity Boys coach??? And to top it off Mr Briggs tells the students at Gunn how much he dislikes the boys on the Paly Boys soccer team....ummm Hansen don't you think this is a conflict of interest. Can someone at Paly wake up and get decent athletic coaches...Hansen, Winston, Berkson....someone...anyone!!!! Come on before you've turned off student athletes for good.


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

This is a good life lesson for everybody involved -- that if you are a star, you can't expect special favorable treatment without getting extra scrutiny.


Posted by sam the man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

Just the facts...the rule is when transferring schools the player must sit out one season unless they can prove hardship. Everyone who is a student who participates(or wants to participate) in high school athletic competition knows this rule.


Posted by Know The REAL Facts, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Actually, "sam the man," that rule won't be put into effect until next year (and the rule will be that they must sit out for six weeks...you should REALLY check your facts before being a cyber bully). Also, players don't know this rule, nor should they be expected to. In my opinion it is the job of the administration, coach and athletic director to make sure the rules are being followed. Let the girls focus on playing lacrosse, please.


Posted by sam the man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I do know the rules and so does every athlete who even considers transferring to another school. Where did you get your facts??? Take a look at the CIF/CCS eligibility requirements and/or the video. Don't bash me because I speak the truth. Tell the hundreds of athletes in the bay area who transferred to different schools and had to sit out the very next season. MA did explain this clearly.


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