Palo Alto boys must forfeit 11 basketball games Sports, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm
This is the fun part of the prep basketball season, when teams learn where and when they'll be playing in the Central Coast Section playoffs. For the Palo Alto boys, there is no such fun because their season is over.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, February 16, 2008, 2:40 PM
Posted by Sports Nut, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm
There is a consistent pattern of Paly getting top players from out of district. Move-ins that live with relatives, foreign transfer students, double addresses. This is not all that unusual in California high schools, where high level sports success is expected. It reflects, to a meaningful degree, a self recuitment by the players and his/her family. This is the way that public schools recruit. The private schools just flat out recruit, period.
There are rules in CIF high school sports about no undue influence, but it is rarely enforced. It looks like the CIF is trying to draw the line at actual eligibility, based on academic units acutally completed.
Posted by A Very Disappointed Palo Altan, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm
This nonsense has to stop. It has been clear for several years that Hansen and Diepenbrock have regularly brought in kids from outside the district (in fact, often outside the country - Denmark, Australia), to bolster the basketball team. It is an open secret that supportive team families allow these 'recruits' to live with them for the season while they play on the team. After the season, they return home. This is 1) the wrong lesson to teach our student-athletes generally, and 2) unfair to the players who really live in Palo Alto and lose playing time or starting spots to these outsiders. Is winning that important that we should teach our players that we must recruit from outside the district? Are our native Palo Alto players that bad that we must bolster the team with outsiders? The year Paly won the State Championship, several of the players on that team in truth lived in the Gunn School district, but played for Paly. I do not pay property taxes to live in a school district where we 'outsource' our high school athletes. Perhaps we should 'outsource' our students and bring in smarter kids, so our SAT score average can increase. Maybe we should bring in better musicians for a better rated music program.
Earl Hansen needs to make a clean break with past practice here. I suspect he has known about these shenanigans for some time. This is just not OK - it is wrong, wrong, wrong. These kinds of ethical violations are the kind that do extraordinary damage to the young moral compass - if it is OK for us to cheat on who can play basketball, it is certainly fine for me to cheat on my [exam, test, college essay, fill in the blank here].
Earl needs to make a public statement that this must end, or his job might be on the line.
Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:25 pm
I concur completely with "A Very Disappointed Palo Altan." This has got to stop. I don't think most people know that there's another Dane waiting in the wings to join next year's team. He's visiting right now to check out the team! "Something's rotten in the state of ..."
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:33 pm
I don't really get the ins and outs of this, but to me there is a big difference between someone living in say Mountain View and getting into a Palo Alto school for sports reasons, and someone coming from a different country. Apart from anything else, things like grade levels are different and high schools starting ages are different in different countries.
To say that a whole family moved here just so that one of the children can play basketball at Paly sounds ridiculous to me.
If the son was that good, apart from just how tall he is, then why isn't he trying to get into college basketball teams, not high school.
As far as I know, Australia is not the sort of country that promotes high school athletics to the level they do here and to say that this family did something unethical in my view is highly unlikely.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm
Stop the hating. The student in question was never a bonafide "recruit" as some are saying - he never started and was a bench player. I think why so many kids from out-of-state come here is that parents know of Palo Alto's academic reputation, and when they ask people here about where (Gunn or Paly) would be better for their son to play basketball or whatever sport their son plays, they always say Paly. That is because Paly is an all-around better school - irrefutably. Diepenbrock has cultivated a reputation as a great basketball coach around the state of California, and in certain areas of the world (Denmark).
The reason the kids in the Gunn area on the state championship team went to Paly was because they did not like the coach at Gunn and they admired the Paly program - not because Diepenbrock "recruited" them.
Stop hating on Diepenbrock and Paly - he did everything he could to make sure this kid could play - he even called the CCS commisioner herself. There is nothing malicious or wrong here, just the Paly administration - not the coach - failed to clear the Australian's eligiblity.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:07 pm
This is a chance for you, or some other enterprising reporter to exlore the open secret about recruiting among high schools. The most blatant examples are with the private schools. However, the public schools do it in a more subtle way. Either way, it is recruiting, and it is illegal, according to high school rules.
If you don't want to take on the task, perhaps a student reporter at Paly or Gunn will take it on. If there are similar student reporters at the WCAL (private) schools, they will find a gold mine. It is the elephant in the room that almost everybody agrees to ignore, except for those parents and students who do not get a fair chance to compete on a level playing field.
At the bottom of this barrel you will find misguided alumni (as always), and willing coaches.
Posted by A Very Disappointed Palo Altan, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:10 pm
So, Ian, any time a player 'doesn't like a coach' they should feel free to transfer to another school and a different public school program at public expense? By that logic, say a musician doesn't like the jazz band instructor at Paly - should we make room for them at Gunn? Suppose a third grader doesn't like his teacher at Barron Park - should we open up a spot at Walter Hays for them? Suppose most of the kids in Mountain View are unhappy with their AP Math teacher - should Palo Alto pay to have them take AP Math here?
Diepenbrock and Hansen know exactly what they are doing. They got caught. They are in trouble. The truly sad thing is that all their players are the ones who got penalized. To do this for a bench-warmer is truly unbelievable. It is NOT the responsibility of the Paly administration to cover their tracks. This kid did not just appear out of nowhere - he was recruited. I do not pay taxes in Palo Alto so some Danes who like Diepenbrock can come over for a 9th semester and play US basketball..... Let him run a private camp for anyone he wants, but no coach should be allowed to use a public high school program as his personal recruiting playground.
The district's image in the sports community is what is hurt most of all. 'A bunch of cheaters' is the image that Paly basketball will now have.....
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:33 pm
It makes sense to me that if a family wanted a child to do well in a certain sport, they would move into a school district with good sporting reputation. If they wanted their child to do well at math or science, we would not be having this conversation. If someone moves to Palo Alto with the hopes of getting them into Paly for any reason, that is their legitimate choice. After all, the child has to go to school somewhere and why not follow their talents. After all, if they are hoping to get a college scholarship for sport then it makes sense to go where they have a chance to do well.
Now, if the child did not actually live in Palo Alto, or was staying with a relative, or lied about something, then that is different. But if the family was legitimately moving from Australia for work or something, then why not let the child play for his school team.
Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:13 pm
I do not think that Paly will have the image of being "a bunch of cheaters"...the players simply wanted to play for Paly because they know it is such a prestigous program. Diepenbrock did not just force them to come. And all of the people from gunn are just upset because they have a sorry team and never win any games.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:33 pm
"So, Ian, any time a player 'doesn't like a coach' they should feel free to transfer to another school and a different public school program at public expense? By that logic, say a musician doesn't like the jazz band instructor at Paly - should we make room for them at Gunn?"
My answer is: Yes. This is an intra-city transfer, meaning it never affects your taxes since they are Palo Alto kids regardless of which section of the city they live in. If your dream is to be a great basketball player, and you want to go to Paly to play for Diep and his great program, then go! If the Paly music program isn't great (I have no clue about the quality of either Gunn or Paly's music programs - im sure they are both fantastic), and you are a great musician and that is the most important thing to you, then by all means go to Gunn (or whichever one is better - if one is), before you begin high school.
I severely doubt Diepenbrock ever "forces" anyone to come. People come to Paly because of the Paly summer camps, the tradition, the coaching and the environment. Diepenbrock rejuvenated Palo Alto basketball - he is an inherent part of the Paly athletics community and the culture Palo Alto Sports has built up.
Your characterization of Diepenbrock is severely lacking in any knowledge, facts or logic. You have never dealt with him on a first-hand basis, you are not a student at Paly; you are just an outsider who makes illogical conclusions based on that fact that a number of kids come from outside the district to Paly. Matt Staiger, a junior last year, moved to Paly for one year from Wisconsin and was an integral part of leading Paly soccer to the CCS DII championship. Was he recruited also? Did Diep get him too? Just because no one wants to go to Gunn, doesn't mean Paly has to suffer because of it. Its reputation precedes itself.
Posted by It's how you play the game, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm
If kids are moving to Palo Alto simply to play basketball, that's a shame and should be discouraged. We don't run our schools to promote elite basketball; we do it for elite education. We don't hire our coaches to work with out-of-town "ringers"; we hire them to work with our students. "Ringers" moving in, recruited or simply tolerated, do a disservice to local kids and their opponents.
The coach and AD have discretion in terms of who they put on the team and on the court. They also certainly can encourage or discourage players from joining the program (even if it does not amount to "recruiting"). In light of this incident, the Principal and perhaps the Super should make sure that discretion is applied to discouraging basketball or other sport ringers - and if it's not, then time for a change in personnel. Winning high school sports trophies is not what life is about.
Posted by Keith Peters, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm
First of all, thanks for the comments. Regarding Matt Staiger and the Paly boys' soccer team...Paly lost the D-2 title last season to Gonzales. Matt Staiger and his family moved back to Wisconsin after one year at Paly. As for kids showing up on Paly's doorsteps, success does have its advantages. In the case of Ed Hall, the biggest mistake Earl Hansen and Peter Diepenbrock made was putting their trust in a family that they had no reason not to trust. Ed Hall's parents, when asked if Ed had graduated from high school in Australia, said no. To them, they were telling the truth. In Australia, you are not a high school graduate until you take the exit exam. Ed did not. That gave his parents reason to believe that he still had eligibility remaining. In California, however, once you complete eight semesters in high school, you are done. As Earl Hansen said, there were one or two questions that were not asked. One was: "Did your son complete eight semesters of schooling in Australia?" It seems like an obvious question, but who asks that when an entire family moves into town? This situation, believe it or not, is very rare.....having a student who already has completed his high school education arriving in another country willing to continue to go to school. That in itself is strange. As for recruiting Ed Hall? Very doubtful. Current Paly starter Dom Powell saw the success Paly had in the 2006 state championship and ended up in town because his mother took a job here. He just wanted to play for a winning team. I truly believe Paly did everything to check out Ed Hall's status before allowing him to play. I think in the future, athletes who move into town will be scrutinized even more. That one piece of paper that tells how many semesters of schooling he has completed will be demanded before the athlete will be able to compete. Ed Hall, by the way, is the first Australian to play basketball at Paly. Christian Bakken came from Denmark. There really haven't been that many foreign athletes coming in. I would think Woodside Priory (four this year for basketball) has had more foreigners than any of the local schools. This is a lesson that the Paly staff will learn from. Nobody wants to forfeit 11 games and have their reputation dragged through mud.
Posted by Anonymous, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:05 pm
Plain and simple it is a fact that Coach Diepenbrock recruits. I have been involved in the Bay Area high school basketball scene for 15 years and have gotten to know many players that attended both Paly and Gunn. So, I know first-hand that certain Gunn standouts have indeed received emails from Coach Dipenbrock urging them to come to Paly; this is "undue influence" and illegal. Also, former players have come out saying that there is someone that helps "urge players" to come from oversees. It is no coincidence that so many foreign players have arrived in Palo Alto and gone to Paly.
Posted by AnonymouS, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:22 pm
So "Mr. Anonymous", if you've been around the high school basketball scene for 15 years, then you should also know first-hand why many basketball players choose Paly over Gunn. To put it bluntly, Gunn's varsity coach is horrible. The reason that Gunn's varsity has not defeated Gunn in many year is not because of the team, but because they are strictly OUT COACHED. You should talk to some of the recent former stand out players and see what they think of the strategies of their former coach. I've heard from current Gunn basketball players that if given another choice, they would've have attended Paly's basketball program instead of putting up with a highly INCOMPETENT coach. Coincidence? I think not...
Posted by Anonymously, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:31 pm
Whether the coach is bad or not, recruiting is still illegal. This is not an argument over semantics or x's and o's, but the integrity of high school basketball. However, if you did attend last nights Paly-Gunn matchup, your point is confirmed. Gunn's coach looked like a deer in headlights. Lock it up.
Posted by It's how you play the game, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:36 pm
No doubt the Paly coach is a fine coach. The question is whether he also is breaking the rules and pursuing the wrong priorities. Success doesn't justify breaking the rules - it's how you play the game, right? And sometimes the very competitive can't help from pushing the envelope too far.
Posted by anonYmous, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:36 pm
Haha, yea right. Or he could just let them play and beat their cross-town rivals by a wide margin.
The sad part is that Jordan Jefferson, Mike Scott and Dom Powell will never get to make a run at CCS their senior year. All three are great players, and deserved their own shot. They got screwed by a technicality.
Posted by aquafina, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:28 am
I don't understand why there is such a big discussion; if paly actually was legitimate, then none of this ever would have happened. they also would have a terrible basketball program if they followed the rules.
Recruiting is just an attempt at compensating for a lack of skill. It's a pathetic easy way out: instead of taking the effort to improve current players, new and better ones are brought in.
and my regards to go out to the paly seniors who are very talented and who belong in ccs legitimately.
Posted by William, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:20 am
Unfortunately, even intra-district transfers for the sole purpose of athletics are not allowed. I know you can argue that there's a double standard here as intra-district transfers for academic reasons can be granted, but the policy is clear.
As for families doing everything they can go get their children into a particular school, this goes on at both Gunn and Paly and is perhaps a testament to the reputation of the school district. Note that this is usually a bigger effect at Gunn (for reasons other than athletics), since Gunn usually fills up faster than Paly. So much so that many new students who move into the Gunn district late in the summer nevertheless get sent to Paly because there is no more room at Gunn.
Posted by Been Around the Block, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:18 am
You forgot to mention Oystein Aukland, the foreign exhange student from Norway, who just happened to be an excellent basketball player (on the Norway youth national team). He played in 2004, I believe. Christian Bakken was from Denmark. Dom Powell transferred here from Las Vegas (you say he just " ended up in town because his mother took a job here"). There was Nathan Ford, who lived in Portolla Valley, yet went to Paly. Actually there have been quite a few excellent athletes just 'show up' at Paly. The typical ruse is to have a parent rent a lower cost apartment, to establish residency in PA. No, Keith, they don't just "end up" here...they are brought here to play ball. There are usually precautions taken to make sure that technical rules are not broken. For example, a move-in might argue that is was purely for academic reasons due to the fact that his home school did not offer a particular academic course.
At a minimum, I think you will find that alumni and parents recruit these athletes. The question of formal recruitment, by the coach, depends on whether the coach gave a wink or nod to "go ahead" and bring him in.
One essential issue, alredy mentioned by some, is that recuitment hurts the local kids who have come up through the system, only to get displaced by ringers. Not good for public relations, like the passage of bond issues.
The private schools are more blatant in their recruitment, but both publics and privates do it.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:42 am
Yes, Bakken and Aukland transferred here from Scandinavia - partly owing to Diep's established roots there as the coach of the Danish women's national team. Many of them go through foreign exchange programs - Bakken was fluent in English - and why not Palo Alto?
Dom Powell's mom transferred from Vegas to here because she needed a job; supposedly, Dom was at a camp and asked the coach what would be a good high school/high school coach for him to play ball for in the Bay Area, and the coach recommended Diepenbrock.
The Nathan Ford comment is ridiculous. Nathan's older sister went to Paly before him, and his younger sister attends Paly currently. In fact, many Portola Valley kids currently go to Paly - there are no public high schools near Portola Valley. The ONLY alternatives are the small, 30k a year privates - Menlo, Woodside Priory, Sacret Heart Prep, where you get essentially the same academics as you would at Paly, minus the atmosphere.
And without these 'recruited' athletes, as some like to say, Paly would still beat Gunn every day of the week in every sport - except Badminton.
Posted by Anonymous, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:55 am
Wait weren't you at the game yesterday?? Because Gunn JV boys, JV girls, and Varsity Girls crushed Paly and i dont think this sport is badmitton and Gunn beats Paly a lot when they even have recruited athletes.
Posted by anonymous parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:58 am
We are not a sports family. On the issue of doing inter-district transfers between Gunn and Paly (either which way) we were always told there is a huge waiting list for Gunn so there was not point in trying to transfer over to Gunn (there were several academic and other programs of interest to our students at Gunn but not available/established at Paly).
Gunn and Paly are quite different schools, including in the fundamentals: classes offered.
Do I understand from this discussion that others' experiences show that athletes jump to the head of the list when they determine Paly is "a better place for me" and they wish to play a sport at Paly??? This would be very unfair if inter (or intra) district transfers, whatever they are, are prioritized for athletes, including those from Portola Valley.
Posted by anonymous parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:00 am
Speaking of recruiting, what about that absolutely enormous water polo player from another country (I saw him in photos in the newspaper) who graduated from Gunn one or two years ago and is practically professional or olympic calibre and who seemed to be a one-man team? Was this a Gunn recruit?
Posted by Facts, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:18 am
"In fact, many Portola Valley kids currently go to Paly - there are no public high schools near Portola Valley."
The public high school for Portola Valley is Woodside High School.
I do not know if there is a special program that allows Portola Valley resisents to opt to pay taxes to PAUSD over SequiaUHSD, then send their kids to Palo Alto schools. I also do not know if there is a portion of Portola Valley that is within the PAUSD boundries. Perhaps this is a good time to get straight answers to those questions.
Posted by GP, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:30 am
"Upon arriving, Ed Hall's mother also contacted the CCS office to check on her son's eligibility. Yet, nothing surfaced on Hall. Until last week.... No one -- not Hansen, Diepenbrock or even CCS commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser -- believed anything was amiss at the start of the school year."
If 8-semester attendance is such a big deal now, how could Nancy Lazenby Blaser overlook it? Why should the boys pay for CCS' oversight?
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:32 am
I do not think it is, to be honest. Woodside now consists of a large amount of Redwood City kids - its demographics and population have been constantly changing. Although, Portola Valley is basically right between Woodside and Palo Alto - its out there. I think if those parents had a choice, they would choose Paly, and thats why there are a fair amount of students (a lot of which are non-athletes) at Paly from PV.
Also, Gunn fills up quicker (they have around 1900 kids), whereas Paly has around 1700. I think that has to do with where people live, and also because Gunn does have more courses in certain areas - i.e AP Economics. Its not like Paly is this big public recruiting school - I just don't see the logic there.
The transfers I was referring to re: the state players reflected pre-high schoolt transferring - such as players who live in the Gunn boundary and go to JLS/Terman but then go to Paly BEFORE they begin high school - which I think is perfectly fine and (I believe) perfectly legal.
I think a lot of this discussion is heated (myself included), mainly because a lot of this is unclear, and much of it unknown. The only way to truely know is to talk straight to the players, or have some kind of investigative report or article come out. But I would urge you all not to just slam Paly and its fabled basketball program because one kid, who as Diepenbrock said in today's PA Daily News was "not a key player and played sparingly", came to Paly from Australia.
Posted by Gunn Grad, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:14 pm
Diepenbrock is an excellent coach who works extremely hard at his craft and in building his program. As far as I am aware he doesn't actively recruit in-district payers. He does make the occasional comment to promising middle schoolers about their prospects and may say things like "you sure would look good playing in green". I do not think this breaks the rules and it is not surprising since most of the better players in the area end up playing a lot of middle school games at Paly.
As a recent former Gunn player, I would have liked to play for a coach who cares enough about his program to scout opponents (Gunn's coach does not; diepenbrock or an assistant attend games for virtually every opponent and he attends games on any off night), to mentor assistant coaches (until he was forced to this year, Gunn's coach refused to even have an assistant), to watch game film, to keep detailed statistics, to attend coaching clinics and to learn the game.
I understand there may be a middle ground and if Diepenbrock is in any way complicit in this problem, he needs to face the music. I just hope tht Paly's problems are used as an excuse for Gunn to avoid replacing its coach this year.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm
Yes, I know. Since Gunn is essentially at maximum capacity, kids leaving from Gunn to Paly (of course, this refers to before HS starts, so they would never be enrolled at Gunn) would not make too much of a difference. I'm sure their transfers would be approved, and it would not be a problem, since Paly still has room. I know a lot of kids that went to JLS but now go to Paly - it's not hard to transfer that way.
And the last anti-Paly commentator obviously is not a Paly kid - I agree with the aforementioned post. I think Gunn is obviously good at a number of sports - some better than Paly, but if you ask pretty much any Palo Altan who is better at sports, they will almost always say Paly. And its not just in B-ball and football.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 1:09 pm
In reference to the Salinas debacle, the following was reported:
"People always get upset when they learn that a student lives in a different district," Walker said. "But if you apply for an inter-district transfer and your reasons to request a transfer are legitimate, it should not be an issue. You are going to school first and that should be the most important reason to apply for a transfer."
Paly Athletic Director Earl Hansen says this incident will most likely have little effect on Paly or Gunn.
"[Salinas High School's] situation is much different than ours," he said. "They have a much larger district and a much different population."
Someone, above, mentioned the academic transfer route. Yep, it happens. As I remember, the request used to be, "my kid wants to take a Japanese language course, for example, and it is not offered at my home school, therefore I want a transfer". Funny that some of these types of requests were from top athletes.
I would ask a simple question: Is there some reason a coach cannot just show up for the first day of tryouts, having never influenced any kid to come to his school, directly or indirectly, look at the eager beavers who want to play ball, then make his cuts after the tryout period? If the coach is great, as Diep is, he will mold them into a solid unit. Is this too simple-minded? I feel sorry for the innocent little guy that actually thinks if he works hard, it will be an even playing field. Think about him playing a solid centerfield throughout the youth leagues, then he shows up for high school, and there is a new kid there, just in from Oklamoma, named Mickey Mantle. Some might say that he needs to work even harder. Others might say he just got screwed.
Posted by Guy who said crush, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm
Im sorry i guess gunn jv boys didnt CRUSH paly but the real thing is that they won. that was a very skillful shot by the player and if Paly knew how to play defense which they dont, than they would of won
Posted by mpowell, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 2:21 pm
May I remind everyone that they need to stay focused on the misfortune of our "Senior Boys" who will not get to participate in the CCS Playoffs after working so hard to try to get to that point in their last year of high school (before moving on to the next level in College), due to a "technicality" that the School District, Paly Administration, CCS, and whoever else is responsible for not dotting every "i" and crossing every "t," (Especially since the Palo Alto School District try to make it almost next to impossible for me to get my son enrolled there). In addition, to make it extremely clear to anyone that seems to act as if they care about my son transferring into Paly (it was not our first choice); I was offered a promotion to move back to the Bay Area two years ago with a company that I started with in the Bay Area eight years ago who transferred me to Las Vegas for a four year job opportunity. I would never move to an area based off of the athletic program alone, academics has always come first in my household. Thanks.
Posted by be real, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm
i think it is completely pathetic and over the top that paly or any other public school would recruit students for their sports program. no wonder there are 'stressed out students' -- they have adult mentors, coaches, etc. who would lie, cheat, and break the rules in order to WIN a stupid basketball game. what's next: condoning steroid use? back alley recruiting and steroid use seem to be motivated by the same thing: winning at all costs. for heaven's sake - play for the love of the game! these are children we are speaking about!
and i am curious - does this happen for girls' sports too?
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 3:52 pm
"I would never move to an area based off of the athletic program alone, academics has always come first in my household."
mpowell, I don't know if you are who you say you are, but I will just assume that you are, and take you at your word.
Your words are similar to so many other parents who move to play. Doesn't mean that you did, just that your words hardly prove that you didn't. "based off of the athletic program alone". So, if the athletic program was mediocre, and " academics has always come first", does this mean that your son would have enrolled in Paly, anyway?
Did you have any contact, direct or indirect, with the coaches at Paly before you moved? For example, who gave you the tip about Diep? Did he know him, personally? Were phone calls made?
The typical patina of recuitment is plausible deniability all over the place. That's why it works.
Yes, it is sad that Paly Seniors are being punished. However, there is probably no other way to instill the message. Consider the plight of the Salinas athletes. Earl and Diep are no worse than many coaches/ADs, but they got tapped, this time. Basically, anytime there is a successful high school athletic program, there is recruitment going on. Probably can't be stopped, becasue even the coaches are not always aware of it.
Don't forget the alumni and parents and interested adults in this recruitment thing. If one follows the dots, backwards, it will usually be found that an interested adult primed the coach.
The CCS retains at least some control by insisting that the i's and t's get dotted and crossed, even if in retrospect.
The main issue, from my point of view, is that local kid that got aced out in centerfield by a move-in Mickey Mantle. We should all be concerned about him. He is what we are supposed to be about.
Posted by anonymouS, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 4:13 pm
However, if this was a "statewide problem" then CCS should know how to deal with this situation from previous occurrences. As CCS commissioner, she should know about the 8 semester rule, and as this was a "statewide problem", why didn't CCS take action from May to the beginning of the season? Lazenby Blaser should have looked into this case and told the Hall's family that he was ineligible to play at the beginning of the season. Then we wouldn't have this mess. In hindsight, I understand that nobody is perfect, but that does not mean CCS should penalize the kids who have done nothing wrong in order to catch their own mistake. Two wrongs don't make a right. It was just as much as the responsibility of CCS as it was of Paly to insure the eligibility of their players. Who decides the official eligibility of players? CCS does. Paly consulted with CCS in order to confirm eligibility. Paly did what they could. Did CCS? I don't think so.
Posted by Paly Dad, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm
Diep's (and the school's) problem is that he's a coach, not a teacher. He's got a system, but he's not really interested in developing our kids, *unless* they fit into that system.
Winning is everything!
Someone mentioned that there are 1700 students at Paly; thats roughly 850 boys, many of whom would like to play ball. Diep has recruited, as others have noted, or at the very least been compicit. Personally, I think its more than that. So, you've got 425 Junior and Senior boys to chose from for the Varsity team, and Diep feels he's got to bring in kids from outside, taking away what's already a precious few spots on the team.
A recent Paly Sports article noted that 3 current Seniors, who were on the Varsity team last year, quit the team this year. Why do you think that was? No playing time (only 6-7 players ever get significant time in Diep's system) and a grueling regime have got to be a factor.
Others said it first, but something's seriously wrong in "Hansen world".
Posted by Keith Peters, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm
Here's something else to think about regarding Ed Hall and the whole eligibility question. Ed had to be checked into school by a counselor. That counselor had to know about his transcript. If there was a problem or something was missing, the problem should have been referred to the district office. While all this is going on, no athlete should be allowed to play. Period. Somehow, Ed Hall was given the OK to play by someone in the Paly office or by someone in the PA Unified School District office. Ed Hall also was at Paly in 2005, but didn't play on the team. If he was actually attending class then (before returning to Australia), the school should have previous records on him. Before we heap the blame on Earl Hansen and Peter Diepenbrock, we should examine what took place before Ed ever attended his first practice. Bottom line, someone let Ed Hall slip through before he got to the basketball team. If there is a finger of blame to point, it should start in Paly's main office. If it was discovered then that Hall had completed eight semesters of schooling already, we wouldn't be talking about this now. Ed wouldn't have been in school and the Paly basketball team would be playing this week in the CCS playoffs.
Posted by Gunn grad, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm
C'mon. It's not the CCS and it's not the academic counselors at fault. The athletic department at Paly is responsible -- and solely responsible -- for ensuring that it does not have ineligible payers on the court. To the credit of Hanson and Diepenbrock, they recognize this and have accepted the forfeits and the implications for eligibility. If the Paly community thinks that they individually should be subject to additional punishment, that's a subject for the Paly administration (and they will of course listen to the views of the affected families). By the way, if the repercussions include replacing Diepenbrock as coach, please send him down Arastradero Road. The idea that someone would be promoting a lawsuit against the CCS is ludicrous. I can only assume that GP is a legal hack and the ambulances have been too fast to chase down today
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:38 pm
I think you miss the main point, which is a desire to win, without regard to the overall picture.
Will some investigative reporter have the guts to look into the depths of high school sports recruiting? It has many levels, and can be subtle.
The easy route is to start with the private schools. They are less subtle. However, the public schools do it their own way. This is a story that begs to be told. This current story is just blowback from a risky policy that was adopted at Paly. Blaming the front office is just a cover.
Earl and Diep have learned the ropes of the game, if only to compete with St. Francis, Serra, Mitty, Valley Christian, etc. Perhaps you would like to investigate where certain superstar basketball players, in the private leagues, went to grammer school. Believe it or not, the situation is much worse in S. California high schools. How about that selective eight-grade baseball camp at St. Francis at the end of last year?
It won't end until there are major penalties meeted out.
Keith, I hope you will take this on. It is long overdue. This is not a good situation. Just think about that local kid that gets displaced.
Posted by CeCi Kettendorf, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:00 pm
I realize that signing fictitious names is the way this is always, always done, but I am saddened by much of what has been written here that is vicious and/or inaccurate. If a writer feels so strongly about this or any issue, he should be honorable and sign his name. The credibility of the writers is negated by anonymity.
Posted by stick to the point, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:24 pm
u guys are all getting side tracked from the real story - a guy came to play basketball, who had already completed 4 years worth of school. period.
stop talking about recruiting - the guy was no good. 9 out of those 11 games he only made a brief appearance. so yea, some recruit he was, coming to america to keep his ass nice and comfortable on that little bench.
Also, to all u "gunn community" people that are using this as an opportunity to argue as to why u think gunn sports are better than paly, stop. Paly is far better than u at everything. the only thing gunn has skill in is SAT scores and badminton.
Lastly, even if recruiting was taking place, which it isn't, chill out. private schools always do it, thats why they always win state when it comes to football and basketball. people should applaud the fact that paly, the small public school underdog, overtook a private powerhouse in the basketball state champs a couple years back. and people should applaud that paly was the only public school to make it to states for football last year. the other 5 teams (with all 3 divisions) were all private schools. so like i said, we aren't recruiting, but even if we were, take a chill pill.
anyway, I'm just looking to next year, and the year after: there are several top-notch current sophomores (that are palo alto natives) that are on their way to making paly basketball state-champ esqué in two years.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm
Wait a minute.
He may have done four years of high school, but in other countries, it is the exam that counts not the number of years. If the exam wasn't done for any number of reasons, he did not complete school. If he didn't do the exam and left school, he would be considered a drop out.
So educationally speaking, he did not finish high school in Australia.
Posted by moved away, a resident of another community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm
..Again, this is soooo palo alto, if you're not arguing about what time leaf blowers can start, then its something else.. wake up pretensious palo altons.. palo alto always wants to be the best in everything.. so, obviously they will do whatever it takes.. but come on..its not like they had all their students cheat on SATs or other exams.. they had a good player play basketball with them...get over yourselves..
Posted by perplexed, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:39 pm
So, correct if if I am wrong, but it looks to me that the parents pulled their son out of (Australian) school a bit early specifically so he would be able to play basketball in the US? A kid lives almost his entire life and school career in one country and the family moves to play a little hoops? Am I missing something?
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:14 pm
We have heard many good things about Gunn's coach, who is also an incredibly gifted math teacher at Gunn. He has integrity, dedication to the team, and the best interests of our Palo Alto kids at heart. I would want my kid taking direction from his 'moral compass' any day of the week.
Almost everyone has heard of the incredibly talented varsity players at Paly who did not play this year because of the 'recruiting' by the Paly coach (who does not teach academics in addition to coaching). What is wrong with this picture? Public schools are funded by taxpayer money for our local kids. The priorities are academics in addition to sports that teach kids the value of teamwork, dedication to an effort and the fun of the game.
The coaches and athletic directors that have breached the rules on recruiting should be held accountable for their actions. Their jobs should be on the line if they have broken the rules and it should set an example for our kids. We value integrity and high morals in our schools. Our kids deserve to learn from mentors and coaches who teach good sportsmanship and set high ethical standards.
Posted by paly parent, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:34 pm
diepenbrock should resign - it's his responsibility to assure that any transfer student is eligible- bottom line - the coach is the captain of the ship
he is a tyrannical coach who screams, throws clipboards and intimidates referees- he usually gets results but at what cost - he discourages kids going to Paly who are thinking about basketball- he only plays his favorites and keeps them in no matter what the score - against Gunn during the last game the bench players played the last 1 1/2 minutes even though Paly led throughout the game and was up by 18 points almost the entire third and fourth quarters
the 3 Paly seniors on the team last year who didn't play basketball this year quit because they knew he wouldn't play them no matter how hard they practiced-they weren't in his fav five
many good JV players do not go on to try out for varsity because of his coaching style and the fact that he only plays the top few
the year paly won the state championship they had a team made up of all palo alto kids
hansen has won a CCS football title 2 years in a row with only palo alto students
we don't need a little Napoleon as the head of our basketball program - we need a tough coach who cares about the palo alto kids more than wanting to win with ringers from Europe
Paly is not St Francis or De La Salle and shouldn't try to be - let the Catholic schools recruit and act like colleges
we need a new coach with a different attitude who wants to develop our own home-grown talent - not a tyrant stalking the sidelines
Posted by Yea their state championship team..., a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm
...had all Palo Alto kids. But two of the starting five went to JLS and were recruited by Diepenbrock. Not to mention the JLS kids who were recruited by him the year before and ended up at Paly. I have also talked to kids on the JLS 8th grade team who say that Diepenbrock has been trying to convince them to play for Paly.
All in all, Diepenbrock is the Bill Belichick of high school basketball. A smart coach who breaks the rules.
Quite ironic that it caught up to them at the same time.
Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm
Could the city auditor look into this? Many of us are rankled that our taxpayer money funds this kind of contemptible behavior that is destructive to our kids. Let's get to the bottom of this and flush out the facts.
Posted by AussieFact, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:20 pm
Australian school year starts end of January compared to Paly which starts end of August. Changing countries means kids either repeat half a year or skip half a year... obviously if you have not graduated in Australia... you MUST "repeat".
It seems CCS rules do not allow for this... obviously academic enrolment copes perfectly.
Posted by Derek Ward, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:25 pm
these comments are hysterical. They are all advising children to not show their potential. By reading through these more than half are saying if your good at basketball and want to join a good program where your skills will be be nourished well too bad because you live two houses over from the PALY district. If your child had a skill would you put them in a program thats just down the street from your house or let them travel a little farther and get more support for their talent? Its just basketball they are playing a team can only hold what twelve players even if all 12 came from other districts there still would be enough textbooks to go around. What some of you also are forgetting is this is not a free ride they have to still pay the fees to play on the team. they still are paying for a paly yearbook nothing is being given to them for free except an opportunity
Posted by Gunn Grad, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:27 pm
Anonymous -- I don't know where you are hearing things about the Gunn coach, but no-one is questioning his moral compass or his skills as a math teacher, it's just that he's coaching basketball at Gunn ONLY because he teaches math there. How would parents feel if they had someone teraching calculus whose only qualification is that he happened to be on campus as a basketball coach.
He has no other qualification to coach basketball and has neither the ambition nor the aptitude to become a better coach. I attended the game Friday and whoever described it as deer in the headlights had it just right. He freezes in critical situations and does not connect with the players. We have three former Gunn players playing decent college ball now. All of them were close to never picking up a ball again after playing for him.
Posted by Palo Alto parent, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:32 pm
Have to agree with a 'Paly Parent really.' We have observed the antics of the Paly coach on the sidelines at games. Coaches who are poised, professional and courteous certainly set better examples for the kids and earn the respect of the refs and public.
Posted by GP, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:39 pm
Dear Gunn Grad,
"He has no other qualification to coach basketball and has neither the ambition nor the aptitude to become a better coach. I attended the game Friday and whoever described it as deer in the headlights had it just right. He freezes in critical situations and does not connect with the players. We have three former Gunn players playing decent college ball now. All of them were close to never picking up a ball again after playing for him."
Hard to disagree. Why would Gunn Administration let him coach for this long then? Does Gunn Administration freeze too?
Posted by anonYmous, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm
1. It is not the coach's responsibility to ensure academic eligiblity; it is the AD and Administration - that's partly why there IS an Athletic director. Coaches don't go through transcripts - AD's do, as that is their job. Diep did more than he should have - he even called the CCS commisioner herself - and its not like Ed Hall was recruited in any way.
2. The Gunn coach is not good. The end. To you, Gunn Parent, if thats the only important thing to you that your basketball coach is ethical and teaches academics, well then go help your child study for AP tests.
3. Diepenbrock is a great coach - no one disagrees, and he does teach P.E. at Paly. He is beloved by the students, by running summer bball camps, giving jokes in P.E classes and always being enthusiastic on the sidelines during games. He has made Palo Alto basketball what it is - and not by his "recruiting".
4.Diepenbrock was named Cal Hi-Sports Coach of the Year two years ago. I know he is intense, but thats part of what makes him such a great coach, such a great part of our community. He is an institution in itself; Palo Alto basketball is the most storied part of Paly athletics - moreso than football, by far - and the notion of even remotely considering his departure is a travesty.
Posted by anonYmous, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:43 pm
GP and others,
Why then would so many kids leave the GUnn district to go to Paly, if the Gunn coach was good or ok? Why?
It's clear: hes just not good, as many former players have told me. Plus Gunn does not really value sports as much as Paly - they trump their AP scores, while Paly trumps their CCS and League titles, and 5 award-winning journalism programs.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:45 pm
Gunn's coach actually played college basketball. That may not translate into professional coaching but he has coached fine teams at Gunn with great results. More importantly, he's an excellent teacher and mentor.
Academics trumps sports any day. That is why Gunn has a waiting list to get in and ranks in the top 100 high schools nationally. If your ambition is to play basketball for a living...good luck!
Posted by anonymouS, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:58 pm
Gunn's coach played college basketball alright. First of all, he played for the JV college team, which means that he wasn't good enough to make it to the real team. Secondly, because of his coaching, the team hasn't even been able to make it to a CCS semi-final even with outstanding talents such as Peter Jordan and David Riley. He may be an excellent teacher, but he's still a horrible basketball coach. And if academics trumps sports any day, then maybe Gunn should stop complaining about their basketball team and be content with their SAT scores.
Posted by Paly Athlete, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:12 pm
All the adults that are commenting on Diepenbrocks coaching styles and personality have no right to be saying what they're saying. You make him sound like a bad person whos only goal in life is to win basketball games. To the paly parent who said the BS about the three players who didnt play because diepenbrock didn't like them, how do you know? and if he didnt like them then why would Karvelas and Seaman have been on varsity as sophmores? the reason they didnt play is because they knew they weren't good enough to start or get a lot of playing time. Also I don't know of one player who quit basketball after their sophomore year simply because they don't like the coaching style. Another stupid point you tried to make is that he only plays the best players, im guessing your the parent of a sorry athlete who wants to play YMCA style and have everyone get equal playing time. The truth is we are in high school now and its competitive. You can ask any high school coach from any sport if he or she plays the best players and I guaruntee they will say yes (Assuming that they are hard working players). And why are you taking shots at Diep? Im guessing you've never met him and don't know what he's really like.I played for diep in 6th grade and i admit he was intense even at that level. But every good coach has to be intense to a certain degree. When I played for him i was probably the 9th man, and didn't get a lot of playing time, but i knew my place and how i contributed to the team. By calling him Napoleon and not tough, your not helping in any way, your just trying to boost your own self esteem. I find it funny I have to tell a parent that.
Like stick to the point said, all you Gunn people don't need to be jealous. We tend to dominate in sports, its just a given. But not only Paly Dominates, Jordan also does, along with the North over the South in little league. It may just be that in the last few years the althletes in North Palo Alto are better than those from the south.
This is being blown way out of proportion. It was a mistake that people jumped on as soon as it was found out. The truth is Ed isn't even that great of a player and probably would have made no difference if he wasn't on the team.
One last point is that it's unfair for parents to try to take the place of a student. They can't talk about Diep and Hansen as if their lives are only sports and nobody likes them. I would say that at Paly 95 percent of the students who know the coaches like them. They want to win, and are good at it. But they aren't driven by only winning. They enjoy the Paly community and most of the paly community is happy with them as coaches and people.
By the way, Ian is the most logical person here, and if you want a real opinion you should read his posts.
Posted by another paly athlete, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:42 pm
i agree with "paly athlete"
I've played under diep - knowing him, I am well aware that his style of coaching teaches athletes that they must work hard if they want to go places.
to those that suggested he resign: go ahead and shoot yourself in the stomach, while your at it. i actually laughed when i saw it - i thought u were joking.
also diep does teach - he teaches several p.e. classes, so no, he's not only an incredible bball coach.
and why are we talking about diep, anyway? he has nothing to do with it. the mistakes in determining ed's eligibility was a mistake on everyone's part, not just diep or hansen.
i dont know why ppl are her to express disappointment towards the coaches of paly. obviously you are completely ignorant of how the majority really feels towards them.
the only reason why everyone is gettin all worked up about this is because its a long weekend, and all u rich-ass people have nothing better to do than sit on the computer and complain about high school basketball. everyone needs to calm down. get laid. obviously u didnt on valentines day.
Posted by Student, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:33 pm
Those stats mean absolutely nothing. You don't know when the championships were won, in what sports they were won, etc. Take a better look at the page you got your stats from, and you'll see that Gunn doesn't even make it onto the boys' list of top 10 total championships - that alone changes the way we look at your numbers.
As for "Ok....": CCS post-season games didn't even start until 1966.
But really. Gunn sports vs. Paly sports is hardly the issue at hand - if you can even call it an issue!!
Posted by Winners at heart, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:41 pm
The Important fact is that three amazing seniors will not be able to go to CCS in their final year, even though they deserve to. Not to bash ed or anything be he was not even a starter, and did not play in the majority of the games, therefore the Paly boys won on their own. The paper also said that Paly will remain in 2nd place since they beat Gunn both times without Ed. I think that not allowing the boys to go to CCS is an unfair punishment as it punishes the boys, who did not do anything wrong, including Ed who only wanted to play, and supported his team throughout the season.
Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:56 pm
If you look at the CCS website, you can get a good idea of the breakdown:
Girls Team Championships
Gunn : 15
Paly : 7.5
Girls Individual Championships
Gunn : 85
Paly : 46
The big difference here is gymnastics, where Gunn has had a very successful history.
Boys Team Championships
Gunn : 18
Paly : 22
Pretty much the same here.
Boys Individual Championships
Gunn : 34
Paly : 53
The big difference here is in boys swimming.
In many ways, this argument is similar to the academic rankings argument. Both Gunn and Paly are excellent academic schools, and perhaps surprisingly, both very good schools athletically. Splitting hairs over "who's better" when both are exceptional seems misguided and a little immature.
Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:03 pm
"Which are probably the two biggest high school sports in the country."
You are correct, so if you want to compare those two sports alone, then that is one argument. However, many of the Paly athletes on this forum have been trumpeting Paly's superiority in all sports. Not to mention the thinly veiled insult regarding badminton (which, ironically, Paly has had more success in than Gunn).
Posted by matt curtis, a resident of another community, on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:03 pm
Im sorry to say but most of these comments are absolutely terrible to hear. I am from the sacramento area and i heard about this story because one of those 11 forefits gave Oakmont High School one more victory and pushed them into the playoffs. A few days earlier this school was out of the playoffs, but after this it pushed them in and bumped a very talented(1 definite d-1 prospect, 1 potential d-1 prospect, and a usc football recruit) but underachieving Pleasant Grove HS out of the playoffs. What happend here affects ppl outside your community. And after reading the article it seems that coach diep did all he was supposed. Being from the valley i have heard much about coach diep and what he's done, and it seems like most of you people out there are using this to try and taint a successful program and coach. Most of you are failing to realize that THE KID HAD LITTLE TO NO IMPACT ON THE TEAMS SUCCESS. You dont recruit a bench player, that is just flat out dumb. As for "A Paly Parent" you need to think before you talk.
"the year paly won the state championship they had a team made up of all palo alto kids"
-that just shows that how the recruitment didnt take place.
and to everyone else, indirect recruitment happens all the time in the basketball community by word of mouth, a program/coaches reputation, and where a kid feels he can have the most fun and success playing a sport they love. Nobody wants to play at a school where you wont have fun and enjoy playing. Your comments just show how little you know about hs basketball. And dont try to argue, "what about the local kid who gets displaced." well maybe he should step his game up and actually improve instead of thinking he should be entitled to a spot because he is local. A lot of these posts hit a nerve with me so if you feel the need to aruge me on this point email at email@example.com and ill gladly put you to rest. gracias.
Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:47 pm
You're right. Poor choice of words on my part. This discussion seems to have diverged greatly and unearthed many biases. Trying to make sense of things:
- The ineligibility of the current Paly player has nothing to do with recruiting. He is ineligible because he had already completed eight semesters of high school. It is unfortunate that this check somehow fell through the cracks, however, the eight semester rule is prominently mentioned in the CCS eligibility requirements.
- Whether or not any illegal recruiting has occurred in the past is a separate issue which probably should be looked into, but it is unfortunate that it is coming out in relation to this current situation
- There is no doubt that in recent years, Paly's football and boys basketball teams have been exceptional and clearly better than their counterparts at Gunn. However, to extend that to a blanket assertion that all sports at Paly are better than all sports at Gunn is just as clearly false.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 10:43 am
What is the definition of high school. My non US high school, was for 6 years, starting at age 11. We did not have semesters, we had 3 terms per year. How that is comparable with 8 semesters of high school, I have no idea, but it is comparing apples to bananas. They are both fruits and that is the only comparison. As far as the term high school, it means different things in different areas of the world.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm
"The ineligibility of the current Paly player has nothing to do with recruiting"
Don't be so sure about that. It is always a risky thing to recruit outside players. You never know what lies and misunderstanings will be used to swing the deal. If you thnik this kid was not recruited, then you need to ask who he talked to about Paly, why his parents decided Palo Alto was the place to move to, from their homeland. Don't be too surprised that the kid talked to certain people, who pushed Paly as the place to come (as opposed to just looking up things on the Internet). The critical question is whether any of such (possible) people were connected, in any way, to the sports program at Paly. Were any phone calls made on his behalf?
Recruitment does not have to be blatant pressure or inducement from the coach. The following is the CCS undue influence rule:
510. UNDUE INFLUENCE
A. The use of undue influence by any person or persons to secure or retain a student or to secure or retain one or both parents or guardians of a student as residents may cause the student to
be ineligible for high school athletics for a period of one year and shall jeopardize the standing of the high school in the California Interscholastic Federation.
NOTE: Undue influence is any act, gesture or communication (including accepting material or financial inducement to attend a CIF member school for the purpose of engaging in CIF competition
regardless of the source) which is performed personally, or through another, which may be objectively seen as an inducement, or part of a process of inducing a student, or his or her parent or guardian, by
or on behalf of, a member school, to enroll in, transfer to, or remain in, a particular school for athletic purposes.
There seems to be some chatter, by others, to the effect that shopping schools to play ball is just peachy. The local kids can just get over it. If this model is accepted, then bond issues will, eventually, be rejected.
Posted by Dane, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 12:17 pm
Paly's tactics are undeniably unethical. Diepenbrok obviously had a hand in this whole deal and should be fired not just for this but for breaking the rules so often and recruiting good players from gunn to paly.
Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm
Let me rephrase: whether or not this particular athlete was illegally recruited (you are correct, I don't know), the CCS ruled him ineligible because he had already completed 8 semesters of high school.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm
get the facts, not a bad idea. If I got them wrong, then so did the original story:
The player involved is 6-foot-6 senior Ed Hall, who moved to Palo Alto with his family before the 2007-08 school year began. The family resides in an apartment in the downtown area. Since Hall moved into the district with his family, the only paperwork that Hall's family needed to produce was to prove his eligibility.
"The rule that was broken is that he completed eight semesters in Australia," Hansen said. "That's the maximum for the State of California. He was beginning his ninth semester here at Paly."
If "The player in question had been a PALY student as a 10 grader" the kid would be going on 10th or 11th (or more) semester.
The real question is not when they moved in but:
1. Undue influence to move. Most shopping of schools invovles undue influence.
2. eligibility, based on semesters already completed.
Either 1 or 2 or both...they are not mutually exlusive.
Whenever one considers recuting issues, it is usually a fishing trip of sorts, becasue there is deniability all over. One can only look at the red flags, for example a new stud athlete moving into town, with his parents, and renting an apartment. Nothing illegal about it, but worth watching, in terms of undue influence.
Posted by Duke, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm
It is poor judgment on the part of the coach or maybe parent who now posted an article on gunntitans.com with the headline of “The Best Public School Basketball is at Gunn”. Yes, both the Gunn girl’s and boy’s basketball teams have had successful seasons, especially the girl’s team, but this was posted under the boy’s team and came out after the article on the Paly boy’s basketball team and the many comments posted. But is not so much the headline as these lines in the article that get me.
“This is an impressive accomplishment when you consider the fact that every single varsity Titan Basketball player began their high school career at Gunn. There has not been a single transfer from another school or foreign country and when they’re referred to as “Home Grown Titans,” they truly are.”
I understand that the article about the Paly boy’s article brought up a lot of feelings about Gunn vs. Paly and even more so about recruitment, which are fine to be expressed in this forum, but do not belong on Gunn’s official athletic website. I can understand having school pride, but again it is poor judgment to put comments like this in an the Gunn boy’s basketball article.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm
Gunn and Paly are both good sports schools. Paly is better at boys' basketball - there is no debate here.
The attacks on Diepenbrock are ridiculous, uncalled for, and at times malicious. They consist of no factual evidence, they are solacious rumors made up as excuses for Gunn's lack of superiority in boys' basketball over the years.
A few facts:
Diepenbrock has a Paly Basketball Summer Camp, which gets kids to attend from across the district who play NJB or middle school ball and truly love basketball. It's not a recruiting ground, but its a chance for kids to have fun over the summer, learn from Diep and quality high school players, and help make them better players. He has become a real part of the community, and not in this goon/omnipotent recruiting-type way that so many like to viciously say he is.
Redfield, and Gunn, does not have a camp.
Peter Diepenbrock is irrefutably among the top 10 most beloved TEACHERS at Paly. Players admire him.
There is a "Fire Redfield" group on Facebook - which consists of Gunn kids, mind you.
All these loonies saying Diep should be fired are insane - and clearly don't know him, and clearly don't know Paly, and clearly don't know basketball, and clearly don't understand the framework that connects Paly basketball to the rest of the Paly community. Diepenbrock is a legend, a class-act, a great coach, a fine teacher, and a man who Palo Altans should be proud of.
I don't even want to think about Paly without Diep, and I don't know of one bad thing hes done. These attacks make me sick. A man's reputation is being tarnished here by a few people, and undeservedly so.
Posted by JLS Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm
Just pointing out, there was a Saturday camp/clinic at Gunn a week or so ago. I heard about it and my son was invited by both NJB and his pe teacher at JLS. This may not be recruiting, but it certainly was aimed at younger than high school aged players.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm
Please notice that I have not called for Diep's resignation.
Recruitment is an ongoing issue, as it always will be. However, to ignore the issue is to bury one's head in the sand, and hope it will go away. Sunlight is much better.
Diep is a great HS basketball coach. He can get the most out of a bunch of kids. Of course, he can also get championships, if great talent appears at his doorstep. I think that recruitment is an ongoing thing at Paly. Actually, most HS athletic programs that are great violate the "undue influence" rule. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to admit it.
The bottom line issue is public support for public education in Palo Alto. It has been strong for many years, but it is starting to slip. If the athletic program is guilty of bringing in ringers, it will slip more. Why should parents agree to tax themselves, only to pay for recruits from outside the district, who take the place of their own kids?
It used to be that shopping schools, for athletics, only happened at the college level. Now, it happens at the HS level. It should NOT happen at any level. It won't stop, unless we all agree that it should stop.
The single best thing that Diep and Earl could do is to come forward and make a completely honest statement about their contacts, directly and indirectly with athletes that have played for them. Clear the air, promise to end the practice, and crusade against it. They will be fine, and loved even more, becasue they set an example, something you will rarely see from the private schools.
Posted by Another Gunn Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:56 pm
The sniping here has gotten ridiculous, particularly when it has gotten to the point of attacking a free clinic that the Gunn JV coach, who teaches at JLS, has begun holding over the past few years. He started this as a way to instill some sense of public service obligation in his players. My nine year old was going to attend; do you really think he was being recruited to play at Gunn? The coach in question has also started a foundation to raise money to host sports instruction camps in various underdeveloped parts of the world. Do you really think he's doing that to recruit kids to play basketball at Gunn) If he were recruiting, I suspect he would be smart enough to start in a place where people are closer to the Nordic average than in the Philippines. You people should be ashamed of yourselves.
Posted by Another Gunn Alum, a resident of another community, on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:40 pm
AGP- You're right. But keep in mind that a lot of these folks responding are high school students or recent grads. I would hope that with a little perspective, they wouldn't say some of the things that were said here.
Something that is great about Gunn (and I can't speak for Paly since I didn't go there) is that there is a great sense of community. Not many of these kids are going to grow up to become professional athletes, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a great athletic experience.
I know that those coaches don't get paid much. They usually get a stipend for the season - so they don't get paid per hour. They have to coach because they enjoy it, and that enjoyment can come from feeling like they're a part of a young adult's life, or because they like the thrill of winning. I was a part of winning teams and losing teams when I was at Gunn, but what I remember most is the sense of team and the friendships. (Well, honestly, I also remember the feeling of the Palo Alto weekly ignoring us so that they could cover Paly. And if we ever beat them at anything the spin on the story was always something like "a terrible loss for Paly"... I've paid attention to the reporting, and at this point in my life, I could care less which school is "better". Too bad that things haven't changed in terms of biases.)
Let's all hope that these students reading these posts take something away from this other than, "this coach sucks" or "my school is better than yours". That kind of attitude is just going to cause you problems in life. I sincerely hope that your parents aren't teaching you this.
It is very unfortunate that the team has to suffer. Something needs to be done (and I'm not sure this is the way to do it) to correct this type of behavior. A bunch of high school students pointing fingers is not going to help the situation.
Posted by paly before, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 10:32 pm
Paly has good team some years, others not so good. They had coaches we did not allways agree with,but they allways played the games fair. Every player was 100% a palo alto athelete, coaches did not mess up the teams with this bs, these two paly coaches know what there doing, it's not right, not ethical. They should play each other one on one at the paly gym, raise $ for Ed, and the loser leave Paly.
Posted by CrocHunter, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2008 at 10:58 pm
A.D. Hansen and coach Diepenbrock bare full responsiblity for this fiasio. Did they ever think to check how many semesters Hall had completed in Austraila? For them to play innocent is ludicrious. They should lose their jobs.
Posted by Derek Ward, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:48 pm
its also funny to see most of the people critiquing Diepenbrock have probably never had any experience with him or have gone through a practice with him they just know what they see from a two hour game once a week while watching from the sidelines
Posted by wow, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 12:29 am
peter diepenbrock is a phenomenal coach who has dedicated himself to the paly basketball program for many years. consistently performing well in the SCVAL de anza division's boys basketball league and CCS, making multiple appearances in the NorCal playoffs and, may i remind you all, winning a state championship does not come from "recruiting" a player; it comes from an inspired group of boys who are given the opportunity to compete in a highly rigorous and competitive atmosphere - and boys whose talents are polished by a man who knows his stuff, and has the record to prove it. many of his players have gone on to successful college careers, and quite a few at very prestigious universities. this supports that paly is truly one of the best high schools in the state. the paly atmosphere is centered around top-level academic and athletic programs, so one should not condemn parents for wanting their children to participate in excellence.
oh and for the record, christian bakken was from norway, not denmark.
Posted by Tired of Crowded Schools, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 8:14 am
I would like to echo the comments from the poster above who asked for an investigative reporter to look into Paly athletes who live elsewhere, including Portola Valley. Although a small number of households in Portola Valley are legally within Palo Alto school district, most households in Portola Valley are not. There are a large number of PV kids, many who are athletes attending Paly while living in PV, including but not limited to the family mentioned above who still have kids attending Paly. Look at swimming and water polo, too. It always amazes me that someone in the attendance office sees multiple kids from the same family attending school through 8th grade in Portola Valley and then magically, just the high school age kids became Palo Alto residents. This would be a great story if anyone had the guts to look into it. When we look at the issue of overcrowding in schools, this quietly accepted practice should be included.
Posted by JLS Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 8:39 am
I am the one who brought up the free Gunn clinic. This was not meant to be an attack on the clinic, or on Gunn, or even on the definition of recruiting. It was done to show a previous poster who said that Gunn did not have camps that in fact they do.
I can't see anything wrong in this particular day clinic. It was open to all NJB players (regardless of where they lived) and to JLS pe classes, and possibly others. It was perceived to be a fun day of instruction by older boys and some extra practice when we all know that gym practice is hard to come by and perhaps to see what lies ahead when they get into high school.
I don't see anything ethically wrong in this, it was a good thing to do. But since I know that there are also baseball camps (which have been discussed in this Forum) at high schools, we should look on these as the norm and not as illegal recruiting methods. If through camps, whether paid or free, the participants get a leg up into the high school teams regardless of skill level but by participation in these camps/clinics, is another question altogether. But, the fact that they exist is a good thing both for the younger kids who enjoy the sport, and the older kids who are doing something for the younger kids to foster a spirit of community and mentoring which may lead to good things in their own lives.
Posted by Scotty Scott, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm
Most of these comments appear to forget the real injured parties here the current PALY Basketball Team Players.
Both Coaches Hansen and Diepenbrock are outstanding at what they do and their teams reflect that on and off the field. This particular incident does not change the great positive things they both have accomplished at Palo Alto High School. I am certain that they have learned from it all and will move on. That is what we all should do.
Anyone who has paid attention to high school sports programs would not even consider placing Palo Alto High School on a list of schools that recruit.
To close, I must add that as a parent, if I attended a Gunn High School Basketball game before we settled on a house here in the Bay area, the shameful and degrading antics of most of the Gunn Student Body Fans would have been enough to convince me to buy elsewhere!
Posted by paly alum, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 10:23 pm
There has been mention that Paly alumni help make coaches do this kind of crap to players on the Paly teams. Here is one that says these guys are an embarrasement to the school and the community, they care more about winning than the players do. If they are such great coaches, why can"t they win with just the players that are supposed to go to Paly. And I have seen them coach. It would be interesting to see how the teams would do w/o these extra transfer players.
Posted by 180, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 11:40 pm
Look how upset we all are about the issue of kids and basketball. What a luxury to be debating this versus where to get a doctor because all of them have fled the country, or where is my missing brother, or how will I survive the next incursion of troops into my village. It is beginning to be bordering on ridiculous, fellow community members, that we size our problems in this way. Other (serious) issues are around besides this. Grab onto one.
Posted by Paly, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 10:31 am
Yes, There are serious issues, but if you can't address the simple one's at home, what is your chance on the other? It is the youth that will solve the serious issues, their best chance is that the adults around them are not unethical.
Posted by Else Støring, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 11:31 am
I am Christian Bakken`s mother, and I just have to tell you about how Christian came to Palo Alto. We had several times been on vacation in the USA. Christian loved USA, and we decided to try to find a school for him in California. His grandfather studied at Stanford in the fifties, and when we found the possibility for Christan to come to Palo Alto and California, we were so happy for him.Christian had the happiest year of his life, and of course he was happy about playing basketball. We told him on beforehand that he may be not was good enough, but fortunately he became one of the team. He mainly went there for a year at high school. He learned a lot from coach Diepenbrock, and got lots of friends. Diepenbrock is the best coach he ever have had, and I hope on behalf of other boys, that he will continue! I also have to tell that Christian comes from Norway, not Denmark. We are sad on behalf of the team!
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 11:47 am
Although I have been critical about recuitment issues, I think Earl and Diep are very good at what they do. NO way they should be fired. They just need to begin the process of cleaning up their recuitment act. I will empahsize, again, that they are no different than many of the ocaches and ADs. Recruitment is so endemic to the high school sports scene, that it will be a long haul.
The only answer a coach should have when a parent or adult friend or adult mover/shaker or a player contacts him about a potential player is: "All I can tell you is that tryouts are on ___ date. I cannot discuss anything else with you. If you have questions about eligibility or residence, please contct the admissions office. Good luck."
Posted by Alf W. Bakken, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 1:05 pm
Recruitment and foreign exchange students.
Apparently there must be a big big misunderstanding about foreign exchange students and recruitment to High School sports. There is no way that foreign exchange students can be “recruited” as seems to be a popular opinion reading the comments here. First I would like to inform you that US embassies around the world actively encourage foreign High School students to apply for a year as exchange student in the USA. To enroll the program, you have to apply through a student exchange organization that has to be approved by US authorities. If you are lucky, you end up at the school that is your first choice, but there is no guarantee for that. My son, Christian Støring Bakken was very lucky and managed to be accepted as an exchange student at Palo Alto High School last year. The reason he wanted to go to Polo Alto High, you can read in my wife’s comment (Else Støring) another place on this page. Christian’s dream, as any Norwegian boy or girl that plays Basketball, was to play on an American High School team, but since basketball is a very small sport in Norway, and the standard is far below what is common in USA, he could only hope that he was accepted on the school team. When it turned out that he was accepted, a big surprise for us was that he then was treated as a kind of “criminal”, and an investigation about “recruitment” was started, probably initiated by one of the other High Schools in the area. I and my wife was very angry on our son’s behalf when we heard about it, first we could not believe it was true, that a foreign exchange student, that happened to be interested in playing basketball could be treated that way, called in for questioning as another criminal! But we soon found out that it actually was the truth, since we had to organize filling out a lot of formulas from Christian’s High School in Oslo Norway (Head master and physical education teacher had to make a statement that he had not been recruited to the Basketball team at Palo Alto High School), a completely stupid idea since there are no school teams in Norway. Well, the end of the story was that no one could prove anything about recruitment, of course, since he was not recruited. Neither we, his parents, nor Christian had ever herd about coach Diepenbrock or any other person connected to the Palo Alto High School basketball team. After this starting unpleasantness Christian had an absolutely marvelous year at Palo Alto High School.
Posted by Erin Becker, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 1:14 pm
Edward Hall is half American. His cousins graduated from Palo Alto, he has several relatives who graduated from Stanford, his mother was educated in California and he has several relatives in the area. Edward has visited the U.S. almost every year since he was born.
He moved to Palo Alto to be with his family, live like an American and to know his American heritage. It is sad that he has experienced this part of American culture.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 2:28 pm
Alf and Else,
I don't think you appreciate how subtle the recruitment process is in the public schools here. As an aside, the private schools just flat out do it, with very little cover. OK, so a few questions for you:
1. Did ANYBODY contact you or your son about Palo Alto High School? You seem to be saying that you just threw your son into some kind of lottery, and the "student exahcnge" system just happened to place him at Paly.
2. Was your son, in any way, influenced by the previous Norwegian player at Paly? If so, was there any adult(s) who "advised" you about his decision?
3. Was your host family, in any way, associated with anybody that might have influenced your son to attend Paly?
4. Did Diep ever talk to you, your son or anybody else associated with your son, before he decided on the exchange program?
Your son was no "criminal" . Give me a break! He was probably accused of being recuited, but that is hardly criminality, at least not in this country. BTW, he was a very good player.
If you can, try to flip the situation. I don't know what the major sports are in Norway but, for the sake of discussion, let me just guess that one of them is soccer. Suppose a bunch of highly talented Brazilian players stared showing up, as exhange students, for club sports in Norway. Do you think, perhaps, that Norwegian parents might become a bit upset with that practice (otherwise known as recruitment)?
I am not against your son, nor am I against Diep or Earl. I would just like to see recuritment ended. It has already completely corrupted college sports in this country, now it has become a major issue in high school sports.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 2:50 pm
"gordon, why is this such a big deal to you? why don't you do something else with your time instead of sticking your nose in business that you seem to have no personal connection with at all?"
chill out, it is not the biggest issue in my life, but since it has become an issue through which the Paly team had to forfeit 11 games, it does cause me to try to address the underlying issue, which is recruitment. I have wathched this process for years. Nobody ever seems to say anything, and I think that is wrong. Recruitment is wrong. It will hurt future support for our local schools. I am trying to SAVE local HS sports, but you, seemingly, are trying to destroy them. That's all.
Posted by chill out/wow, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm
recruitment is the secondary issue here. the first is the student's ineligibility and the school/ccs/paly athletic department's disappointing mistake. the consequence, sadly, is that these boys had their season torn away from them and now have to deal with the community buzzing over an "issue" that really shouldn't be an issue at all. i don't even know why we're talking about past players because if they were ineligible they, like ed hall, would have been sanctioned.
there's nothing wrong with local high school sports. i have heard that the boys consistently have wonderful team chemistry and hang out on and off the court. i know that this is true for most, if not all, the sports teams at paly. i'm assuming gunn is the same as well. firsthand, i don't know of any students (as students are the main concern here) who are unhappy with the teams themselves, albeit perhaps their problem being with playing time. varsity level sports are geared towards winning, and good team players understand their role on the team and how they can best contribute to their team's overall success.
what seems to be going on here is a bunch of adults getting their panties in a knot over high school sports teams that kids love. the kids' dedication to those teams is why they are so successful, and peter diepenbrock's program is no exception.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm
Rudyard Kipling aside, the issue IS recruitment. Why do Australian players try to extend their eligibility by coming to California high schools? They are just following the recruitment of Eurorpean players, and they (the Europeans) are just getting the word about national players who are shopping schools (it's a small world these days).
If the 'Undue Influence' rule was to actually be enforced, MANY high schools coaches and ADs would be on the carpet. Earl and Diep just happen to be caught up in the mess that is recruitment... it is NOT, really, about eligibility. The private school coaches and ADs would be fired, if enforement was enforced, because they are MUCH worse.
Why all this denial about something that has been obvious for years?
This thing will not get turned around for many years, but it will contribute to a diminishing support for public education. Sad.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm
Why on earth do you think that a family would move from the other side of the earth for basketball. The rest of the world is not as crazy about high school sports as you appear to be. Many families move here because of their jobs. I don't think many would move here in the vain hope that their offspring gets picked for a school team in any sport.
Moving home from one country to another is a very big issue. Remember, to them they are living in a foreign country. Not everyone likes the idea of moving to the Great U S of A and does so reluctantly. They often leave much bigger homes, extended family, better social services, etc. etc. behind. Moving here just so that a child can do well at sports is ludicrous.
Posted by former parent of paly & Gunn sports participants, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:54 pm
Gordon, I don't actually think the level of support for local public education is going to be diminished significantly because of the issue of recruitment in high school sports and many who pay taxes do not have anyone in sports programs or for that matter in local schools anymore, if ever, or at all!
Posted by chill out/wow, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:57 pm
have you not been reading anything that people who actually know these boys have been saying? you are entitled to your own opinions but you need to learn to read and judge more carefully.
and the issue that this article is covering IS an eligibility issue, that is why he can't play anymore. wow, what a red herring - how does this have anything to do with "diminishing support for public education?" i don't believe any intelligent parents would willingly take their students out of the palo alto school system just because of some sort of eligibility issues in the schools' athletic departments.
but let's get back to the real problem at hand: it's just because of people like you that there may even be an issue in the first place.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm
"Why on earth do you think that a family would move from the other side of the earth for basketball."
Parent, to play high school basketball. Sports crazed parents will do almost anything. Next question?
"I don't actually think the level of support for local public education is going to be diminished significantly"
former parent, perhaps not significantly, but all those parents add up, when their kids are relegated to the bench by the ringers. Leaves a bad taste in one's throat...it also produces a silent resentment, and less enthusiasm.
" the issue that this article is covering IS an eligibility issue"
chill out/wow, I disagree. The underlying issue IS recuitment, as I have tried to explain. Read today's Weekly article about this affair. Diep seems to have had some contact with the family before they decided to move. I wonder what was said, besides "If you move your entire family here, you don't need paperwork".
Posted by Alf W. Bakken, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm
Answers to your questions:
1. No, no one contacted us or Christian about Palo Alto High School, but two years prior to Christians application for a year as exchange student in USA we spent our summer holiday in California. Among the places we visited and spent some time was Stanford University where my father (Christian’s grandfather) took his master degree in 1955. Since Palo Alto High School is just across the street from Stanford, we also had a look there. We have relatives living in Mountain View and San Jose, so when Christian wanted to spend a year as exchange student at High School in USA, Palo Alto High School was a natural first choice and what we applied for. Luckily he also ended up there, but there was no guarantee for that, he might as well have ended up as a high school student at Gunn or another High School in the area.
2. Again the answer is no, but you have to understand that basketball in Norway is a very small sport, and a lot of the players have spent a year as high school exchange students in USA and played at different High School teams. Christian knew who Øystein Aukland was (since he also played basketball in Oslo), and knew that he, as many other players had spent a year at high school in USA, but did not know that he had been at Palo Alto High School until he became a student there himself.
3. Here also the answer is no. We had no other information about the host family than the information sent us from the student exchange organization (North West Student Exchange).
4. No, we had never even heard about Diepenbrock or anyone else connected with Palo Alto High Schools basketball team before Christian arrived in Palo Alto. You have to understand that Christian primarily wanted to learn more about American culture and way of life (since approx. half of our relatives are Americans) and the basketball, if he got the opportunity to play on the school team was just an extra bonus.
When it comes to the unpleasantness Christian (and we as parents) experienced when the accusation about recruitment was put forward (by someone at Gunn?) it was not at all a laughing stock. In Norway we take baseless accusations very serious, and the process Christian had to go through was a very unpleasant experience.
It is an interesting observation that when US authorities encourage foreign students to take part in student exchange programs in USA, the local attitude from some neighboring schools are very hostile if it should turn out that a particular exchange student also has athletic skills.
But by all means, this episode did not change Christian’s very positive view of the USA, and he had a very pleasant stay in Palo Alto with a absolutely fantastic host family.
Posted by Thank you Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 4:51 pm
Thank you so much for your persistent effort in wanting to SAVE the local HS sports and to stop the recruiting. I admire your passion toward the HS sports. By reading the blogs, none of them have first hand recruiting facts. Below is my personal experience.
While my kids in JLS, a staff consistently told them, they should go to Gunn. While Gunn staff skipped their JV game and came to watch a JLS game, he asked me to talk to another family to get their kid to go to Gunn. Is this considered "UNDUE INFLUENCE"? If you still want to SAVE the local HS sports, I will give you their names.
Posted by ACE, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm
here's my question: when a family moves to palo alto and wants to play, let's say, badminton, for example, aren't they allowed to ask people in the community who has the best coach or program or whatever?
gordon, are you implying that nobody with any kind of connection to a particular school (possibly a positive past experience) can give their opinion on where this individual should attend high school?
as a parent, i am going to want to speak with the coaches of both teams and anybody else that can help me with this decision -- all other things being equal (or not) -- to help decide which school i would prefer. we are talking about my child's four-year high school experience!
gordon, your remark that all a coach is allowed to say is "All I can tell you is that tryouts are on ___ date. I cannot discuss anything else with you. If you have questions about eligibility or residence, please contct (sic) the admissions office. Good luck." is just unrealistic and not what the rule "undo influence" is referring to.
there is a huge difference between someone inquiring about the badminton program and a coach finding a great badminton player and speaking with them. the first is the real world; the latter is recruitment.
when a program is as successful as paly's, people talk, there are articles written. ADs and coaches should not be accused of recruiting because of past success.
here's an example -- you like examples, gordon -- if i say de la salle, what do you think of? football? if you have a child who would like to play football and you're moving into de la salle's district, you're probably going to want to check that program out.
"recruitment," as you define it, is going to happen because people who are interested in successful programs are going to want to discuss their own child's future with that particular coach. i think you are right that it happens all the time. answering questions is different than initiating first contact.
recruitment accusations always seem to come from those parties that are in denial and can't just deal with losing. they have to find an excuse, and it's always easier to reach for any possible excuse rather than face their own shortcomings.
all that being said, i agree with 180....and i totally agree with chill out/wow.
Posted by Theresa Carey, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm
I was involved with Paly volleyball for 6 seasons, and saw recruiting going on by private schools, especially during the club season. I frequently saw coaches from various private schools watching local 12s, 13s and 14s teams play, and chatting up the better players. I once stepped in when a kid who I knew was at Jordan was being recruited by a WCAL coach just to say, "Hey, I hope you decide to stay with your Jordan pals and come to Paly."
Is that recruiting? As it turns out, the WCAL coach managed to convince that particular kid to go to private school.
Every spring, I would go visit Jordan and talk with the girls who wanted to play volleyball at Paly, and hand out a summer conditioning program and let them know about open gyms and tryouts. The meeting was publicized around the Jordan campus and in the newsletter, but the other Paly coaches and I did not make any personal contacts otherwise.
At a couple of the meetings, some Jordan girls would say, "My friend so-and-so goes to JLS, can she go to Paly and play with us?" My response would be, "That's up to her and her parents, but if she wants to learn more about Paly volleyball, have them contact me." Is that recruiting? I didn't see it that way at all.
When Buddy Teevens was hired at Stanford, his wife talked with the mother of a Paly player who was on a club team that had traveled to Florida for a tournament. The Paly player's mom told me later that she'd encouraged the Teevens' to send their kids to Paly instead of St. Francis. The volleyball staff had no contact with the Teevens family, but we were happy to have Lindsay on the team for two years. (fall 02 and 03)
Over the years, I am aware of a half-dozen girls who were recruited away to a WCAL school, and am not aware of having recruited anyone to come to Paly.
Obviously, this story is not about volleyball, and only one female athlete has even been mentioned in the comments. Just wanted to chime in about my intimate knowledge of one of Paly's premier teams. Go Vikes.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 5:25 pm
""recruitment," as you define it, is going to happen because people who are interested in successful programs are going to want to discuss their own child's future with that particular coach. i think you are right that it happens all the time. answering questions is different than initiating first contact. "
ACE, no, initiation of contact is not the issue (way too easy to get around that one). If a parent "wants to discuss their own child's future with that particular coach", and that coach agrees to discuss that kid's future, that is, indeed, undue influence. The ONLY thing that coach should say is when tryouts will be, and to contact the admissions office for all other issues. That's it, period.
I am not naive. I know that the 'undue influence' rule is violated on a daily basis. But sometimes it comes with blowback.
Posted by neighborhood schools/neighborhood sports, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 5:28 pm
Just last week a parent of an 8th grader that lives walking distance to Gunn was telling me how there has been a lot of interest in their son for sports. One of Paly's coaches and others have been talking to them about coming to Paly for awhile especially if they want their son to be "seen" by colleges for sports. They were told that if they applied for transfer that they should not use sports as their reason for transfering.
Two years ago, I heard this same story from a JLS parent who said that the Paly basketball coach kept telling the "Gunn-bound" players that they would look great in green and that they would get more notice by colleges. The parent who told me about this was quite annoyed.
Maybe a meeting with the athletes that stayed at Gunn would give the school board a better idea of how widespread the recruiting has been. I heard the first complaints from parents from the Gunn basketball team of '06-07 (those that did not end up going to Paly). This may be an older problem but I was new to the high school level at the time.
Another issue the school board needs to take a good hard look at is their support of athletics/coaches. The funding is not sufficient to support the athletics that the schools have now and the district is growing by leaps and bounds.
Posted by ACE, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 6:16 pm
you are just flat-out mistaken that answering parents' questions is undue influence.
it is not a communication; it is a communication that "may be objectively seen as an inducement, or part of a process of inducing a student..."
your argument kind of falls apart when you read the bylaw.
510. UNDUE INFLUENCE
A. The use of undue influence by any person or persons to secure or retain a student or to secure or retain one or both parents or guardians of a student as residents may cause the student to be ineligible for high school athletics for a period of one year and shall jeopardize the standing of the high school in the California Interscholastic Federation.
NOTE: Undue influence is any act, gesture or communication (including accepting material or financial inducement to attend a CIF member school for the purpose of engaging in CIF competition regardless of the source) which is performed personally, or through another, which may be objectively seen as an inducement, or part of a process of inducing a student, or his or her parent or guardian, by or on behalf of, a member school, to enroll in, transfer to, or remain in, a particular school for athletic purposes.
Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 6:22 pm
The question we must surely ask ourselves is whether the sports dept. are doing anything different than say the music dept. or the drama dept. when it comes to taking their students into the middle schools. I happen to know that in the past couple of weeks, the choir has been on a trip to Jordan and the Jordan choir have also performed with the Paly choir on a recent concert. This is completely ethical in my opinion, so what is wrong with sports doing the same?
From the point of view of a music family wanting the best school for their music orientated child, or drama, or even German or AP whatever. Parents will try and get the school that is best for their child's interests. Even to the extent of moving house or moving school districts, it may make sense. I am not so sure about moving around the country or even around the world, but families are definitely able to move for their child's education. Otherwise, we would all be living in Oakland, (extreme example I agree).
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm
"This is completely ethical in my opinion, so what is wrong with sports doing the same?"
Paly Parent, your question is often asked...why the double standard? The answer is simple: Athletics have been so abusive, that they are forced to adhere to higher standards. If the math or music or drama programs start to become bad actors, then expect the same standards.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 8:24 pm
Have you considered the possbility that your son was recruited, and you were unaware of it?
It is very odd that two Norwegian players , both top quality, would show up in Palo Alto within two years of each other.
Your answer to question # 3 is interesting ("Here also the answer is no. We had no other information about the host family than the information sent us from the student exchange organization (North West Student Exchange)."
Is it possible that your exchange service provided a "service" that you were not aware of? There is, typically, a deal maker(s) that hangs around the campus, where high level athletics are endemic. These guys tend to talk up the system, get cozy, offer educational opportunities and always deny that they have anything to do with the 'official' system. They tend to be good at providing unofficial opportunities (e.g. exchange services) to outside students. However, they also report what they know to the coaches.
Posted by Paly, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2008 at 11:23 pm
Undue influence has been going on for years, it is how they operate. All the kids know it, they just have to be told by someone at the school, an adult at Paly that it is a violation of the standards at their high school. It has not allways gone on and not everyone does it, and it is going to stop today. We are paying the adults at Paly to set the best example they can be. If these coaches can't get this, then they should go coach college or the NBA or NFL. They act like they can, go for it or stop the crap.
Posted by Former Paly Athlete, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 20, 2008 at 11:49 pm
The successes/failures of the program or coaching staff are completely irrelevant unless you can prove recruitment (or something illegal) has taken place. And if, as a parent, you believe that your child is good enough to play varsity ball, move to a district (or out of the country) where you think he or she can make the team. Or even better, you can apply to be a coach and then you can officially push your kid. This can all be fair play.
Unless he was recruited and it can be proven, it isn't for anyone to say why they moved here. So what if he moved here because he heard about a great basketball coach? No one can legitimately make that judgment call except for he and and his family. Furthermore, as long as no rules were broken, the decision to move is a private family matter and they owe no one an explanation. It is no one's business but their own. Though if you ask me, in the case that he was not promised a spot on the team, I think it takes a lot to give up everything and move out of the country so your son can play basketball at a great program. I think it is a huge testament of faith and love to do that for your child who himself must have a great desire to play and compete. But I guess that is not important to you if your own kid is sitting on the bench.
Unfortunately, the actions of one person have affected a team, his friends. Even more unfortunately, others have taken this opportunity to vent about issues that are irrelevant. I can't imagine this makes the kid feel any better when he and his coach and family might be completely innocent of everything but botched paperwork and misunderstanding.
Naive? Unnecessary to post and completely wrong? Maybe, but still possible and not as ridiculous as some of which that has already been written on the topic.
Posted by high school sports supporter, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 7:55 am
So on one hand you are saying you believe there is probably going to be less financial support for paying taxes to local schools from a certain group (comprised you believe of those families of athletes who did not get opportunities to play who may react this way from feeling slighted) and on the other hand less enthusiasm for local sports teams from those same people due to the bad taste left in these people's "throats" because of feeling slighted due to exchange students or those who were better players who came in to their districts and may or may not have been recruited by coaches or other parents or other unofficial service agents lurking around campuses to the end that other kids got to play while their own kid did not. And you have an issue with how these kids got there even though people seem to be stating to you that they were not recruited. Yep, sound like "Who you gonna call?"
Posted by No Way, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 8:18 am
Good point Paly Athlete. What is Gordon thinking?
For instance, we know that college and pro athletes and coaches are often accused of bad things like recruiting violations (legion), or cheating (Belichick), or doping (Landis, Clemens, Bonds, Joyner) -- and their vehement heartfelt denials almost always turn out to be true. When will these naysayers and haters learn that sports people are much higher integrity than normal people despite their intense competitiveness?
Oh wait ... gosh that sounds so silly ... never mind ;-)
Posted by Former Gunn Student Athlete, Current Future Paly Mom., a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 9:05 am
I can't believe this cross-town rivalry is still so bitter. The Gunn community should be very proud of it's accomplishments. It outperforms Paly in academics year after year. How many student athletes really go on to pro careers? Very few. We should be focusing on what high school sports is all about - teamwork, socialization, and FUN! Let the recruiting crap go. Hansen was doing it long before he ever became the AD at Paly.
Gunn and Paly kids - you'll soon realize that the rivalry seems really silly once you leave and come back. Somehow the world gets a little bigger after high school. ;)
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 12:34 pm
"Gordon, you must be totally out of your mind. You obviously see ghosts in high daylight."
I have, indeed, been accused of being out of my mind before. For example, my son told me this once, when I told him that I thought one of his friends was a bad influence, and headed for jail. It took two more years, but that kid (now a man) is serving 15 years for selling meth.
Look, there is nothing criminal going on here, despite your hurt feelings about being made to feel like a criminal. As issues go, this is a fairly small one (I mean recruitment, and accusations/denials thereof).
I played high school sports and college sports. I can assure you that the types of individuals I described above are no ghosts. They work their deals, sometimes without the knowledge of the players or the players' parents.
The odds of getting two outstanding basketball players in from Oslo within two years of each other seem pretty low to me. The fact that Diep has connections in the region makes me more suspicious. However, I cannot rule out coincidence.
Posted by parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm
Gordon, thanks for educating us non-sports parents about a world we are not in Thank God. This seems most interesting to me in that parents plan and scheme for college sports for their kids, and that young volleyball kids are approached by high school coaches, it seems silly. However, there appears to be an issue of ringers taking coveted places of local youth on local sports teams, and that doesn't seem right.
Posted by Alf W. Bakken, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2008 at 2:16 pm
obviously you do not know much about how things are here in Norway. I can assure you that you will not find any deal maker(s) hanging around the campus here, especially not representatives, direct or indirect connected to American High School sports teams. The whole idea is ridiculous. When I state that my son was not "recruited", he was not, and that is a fact, but evidently I can’t convince you regardless of the information I supply.
For me it looks like you automatically will jump to the conclusion that any foreign High School exchange student that also happens to be good at sports, must have been recruited, especially if he or she should be a student at Palo Alto High School. For me it is totally meaningless to continue the discussion with you.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 2:52 pm
I was talking about American high schools, not Norwegian schools. My understanding is that the European sport system is based on clubs, not schools. At any rate, I am quite confident about what I say about American schools that are sports dominant.
You may not even be aware of what goes on here. That is all I am trying to convey to you. There have been many innocent people who believe what they are told, only to find out that it was something quite different.
Since Palo Alto considers itself to be a sophisticatd place, one can expect the recruitment methods to be more sophisticated, as well. The deal makers, could, for instance, agree to set up a hosting family situation with top level foreign athletes. Of course, there would be the constant patter about, "he just happened to show up, as part of a database draw, but isn't it great that he can help our team?" If one were to look a little deeper, it might be seen that there are conncections among the various actors, even without the foreign players/parents knowing about it.
I will take your word that the snow is pure in Norway, but it is not in America. At our best, we wear our warts on our face.
Posted by Jordan, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm
The first thing I thought of when I hear about this is "good," redemption for the way Paly has run their sports programs since I started at Gunn in 2001.
Palo Alto High School seems to be very concerned with performance and not too much with the support of their kids, especially native Palo Altans. My senior year playing for Gunn basketball, atleast 3 players on Paly's squad were originally zoned to come to Gunn. They were recruited, no way around saying they weren't. There was also a 6'4 recruit from Austria that showed up before the season started. This recruit replaced one of my good friends now, a Paly alumni, on the team. A native Palo Altan kid busting his ass for Diepenbrock to be replaced by some Austrian kid who had to stay at one of the other kid's houses.
My younger brother wh remained on the team for 3 years after I had graduated had always awaited to beat Paly's team as their talent dropped off with graduating players. He was disallusioned when Paly put out a whole new team of recruited players while those who waited for their chance to play were either cut or rode bench.
Diepenbrock's players are brainwashed to play for a Palo Alto basketball team that's goal is winning in front of a solid alumni base. If you don't cut it, see you later. What does that tell these kids? Paly is very limited in what they do to get athletes into college programs as compared to Gunn. The concern at Gunn is preparing their athletes for the next level if they have talent. Palo Alto's concern is "who's coming in next year for the state championship run?" These are public high schools. Paly needs to get it's priorities in order athletically.
It's so cleansing psychologically for me to see Palo Alto High School get what they've deserved for the last generation. I'm am saddening for the native Palo Altan kids that had their basketball season ruined by ridiculous recruiting tactics.
Posted by Weekly staff, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm
This past week an unfortunate situation occurred that resulted in Palo Alto boys’ basketball having to forfeit 11 wins and thus not qualifying for the Central Coast Section playoffs.
When this was reported in the Palo Alto Weekly, almost immediately comments were attached that have deeply divided our community. We have so much to be proud of in the accomplishments of both of our high schools in the classroom and on the athletic field, and we are shocked to see responses that have been negative in nature to both schools. Many people who have worked hard and served our community well have been unfairly treated in a forum that is not healthy or productive.
As school administrators from both schools we stand unified in what is right about our two outstanding high schools and ask the Palo Alto Weekly to put an end to this vitriolic diatribe. We ask everybody to remember that we are one school district serving all of our students and we truly are one community.
Noreen Likins Gunn High School Principal
Jacquie McEvoy Palo Alto High School Principal
Tom Jacoubowsky Gunn High School Assistant Principal
Jerry Berkson Palo Alto High School Assistant Principal
Kim Cowell Gunn High School Assistant Principal
Kim Diorio Palo Alto High School Assistant Principal
Phil Winston Gunn High School Assistant Principal
Chuck Merritt Palo Alto High School Principal
Chris Horpel Gunn High School Athletic Director
Earl Hansen Palo Alto High School Athletic Director
Posted by Terry, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm
Interesting request from educators above (if in fact it is genuine).
Suppressing public discussion of what clearly is a sensitive issue (that many citizens were not aware of) seems off-base. That may be appropriate for a high-school campus; it is not appropriate for a city of adults.
Sunshine is a good disinfectant, perhaps we can shed some on the issues here. In between the "vitriol" there has been a good discussion of concerns, issues, and facts. I hope it continues.