Behold the era of free agency in prep sports
Now that everyone knows what the CIF transfer rules will look like come September, the movement of high school athletes should begin to pick up.
It was a mere trickle until the State Federated Council approved CIF transfer revisions earlier this month, with the major change the implementation of a monthlong sit-out period instead of a one-year loss of eligibility for those who switch schools without moving.
Sam Bush, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound sophomore offensive lineman at Newport Harbor, has become one of the first to take advantage of the new rule. He intends to transfer to Santa Ana Mater Dei without moving and will be eligible on Oct. 1.
Other football transfers have been taking place since the end of last season, so get your programs out and let’s look at the early winners and losers.
Elijah Asante, the former Carson coach who took over at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul, has never met a transfer he didn’t like, so he has welcomed with open arms the arrival of sophomore running back Kurt Scoby, who was attending Duarte after rushing for 1,572 yards last season for Covina Charter Oak. He has been joined by Darrell Cloy, a 6-3 sophomore tight end from Los Angeles Garfield who once attended Orange Lutheran.
Tustin, the school that would be happy running the ball on every play, has picked up junior running back DaVonte Young, who left Bellflower St. John Bosco after playing for Irvine as a freshman and briefly attending Tustin.
Corona Centennial has landed receiver Dvonte McKneely from Corona Roosevelt. He caught 35 passes as a sophomore. Also, Jaycie Pearson, a 6-1, 220-pound junior linebacker from Missouri, has joined the Huskies.
Two sophomore defensive backs from Lakewood, Jaleel Wadood and Naijiel Hale, are now at St. John Bosco.
While Encino Crespi lost sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya to West Hills Chaminade, the Celts gained 6-3 junior receiver Aaron Lacombe from Oak Park. All-league defensive back Parker Wells has left JSerra and joined Tesoro.
Matt Simko, the starting quarterback last season as a junior at Ontario Colony after earlier playing for Claremont, has transferred to Chino Hills.
There are plenty of other transfers to mention and more on the move.
Free agency has come to prep sports, and it’s going to be quite interesting watching coaches and schools maneuver and squirm.
“I didn’t pass the rule but I’ll abide by the rule,” Mater Dei football Coach Bruce Rollinson said. “There’s issues. Your offense or defense has been playing for five games and you inject a kid into the lineup. His baptism under fire is no preseason and, ‘Oh boy, he gets to play in the Trinity League.’ He better be pretty good.”
What a memorable fall and winter ahead. There’s going to be a first-ever 16-game football schedule, with the season starting on Aug. 23 and lasting until Dec. 15, or until exhaustion sets in.
There will be regional football bowl games, before state championship bowl games and after section championship bowl games, leading to so many award presentations that a few lucky schools will face a space crunch in their gym with all the new championship banners to put up.
And a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange against the Southern Section alleging unfair treatment is scheduled to go to trial in November. Marie Ishida, the outgoing CIF executive director, has called the lawsuit “reprehensible.”
Reality TV doesn’t get better than this.
I think there’s been lots of duping and bamboozling going on.
Of course, the only way to prove a blunder is to let everything play out, understand the consequences, then hold people accountable.
That’s what I’m going to do this coming school year — watch, listen and document the good and the bad.
What a year ahead.