Bird ineligible, Salesian forfeits 16 games

The Salesian High boys basketball team is forfeiting its first 16 wins this season because leading scorer Jabari Bird is ineligible, athletic director Chad Nightingale said Friday afternoon.

Bird — a sophomore ranked 26th in the 2013 recruiting class according to ESPN Rise — transferred last summer from Benicia to Salesian, the top-ranked team in the Bay Area News Group-East Bay poll.
Bird declined to comment Friday. He was averaging 16.9 points per game.
The main reason for Bird’s ineligibility is California Interscholastic Federation Bylaw 510, which stipulates that a student-athlete who transfers has to disclose pre-enrollment contact with anyone associated with that school’s athletic department.
Nightingale said that this summer, Bird joined an AAU team (the Oakland Soldiers) that had a Salesian player. Nightingale declined to name the player. Since Bird enrolled at Salesian on Aug. 18 and the CIF form 207/209/510 that was signed indicated there was no pre-enrollment contact, that’s considered an infraction because pre-enrollment contact includes playing on the same AAU team as another person, Nightingale said.
“That is regardless of whether they even talk about the high school,” Nightingale said. “At no time did (Bird and the player) talk about Salesian athletics (while on the Soldiers) according to the students.
“(Bird’s) dad works close to the school and wanted a private education. He never even spoke to me or any of the coaches (before the transfer). He spoke to our admissions director. He did everything right, but (didn’t) check the right box.”
North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon confirmed that he rescinded the eligibility of Bird on Friday, something that requires the 16 forfeits. Lemmon also said that CIF Bylaw 510 was the main reason for the ineligibility. He had no further comment.
Nightingale said Lemmon e-mailed him Tuesday with concern about an article in the Vallejo Times-Herald on Tuesday that dealt with Bird’s transfer. Nightingale said there was concern by Lemmon over a quote by the Pride’s Freddie Tagaloa that stated, “I told him if he’s looking to play a little, he should cross that bridge and come to Salesian.”
“I have no recollection (of saying that),” Tagaloa said Friday. “I mentioned that education is better across the bridge, so the bridge part was in there.”
Jose San Mateo, the Times-Herald reporter who wrote the story, said Friday that he stands by that quote.
Nightingale said he also received an e-mail Wednesday from Lemmon asking questions about the transfer. Nightingale then conducted an investigation and found that one of the Salesian players had played with Bird on the same AAU team.
“There is something called an administrator’s checklist (for a transfer), you go through a battery of 19 questions,” said Nightingale, who added Salesian plans to appeal the decision. “The idea is, I went through everything and there’s nothing there … I would never in a million years think to ask ‘Did you ever play on a summer team with one of our kids?’ It never crossed my mind.
“The North Coast Section and Gil Lemmon have done their job.”
Salesian (1-17, 1-5 Bay Shore Athletic League after the Pride’s 74-37 win Friday night over Piedmont) still has a chance to reach postseason. If the Pride posts a winning record in the BSAL or wins the league tournament, it can qualify for the NCS playoffs.
“A lot of guys don’t really understand what’s going on and why they’re choosing to come down on him and not other cases,” Salesian coach Bill Mellis said about the team’s reaction. “It’s an interesting case because (Bird’s family) did everything they were supposed to do. The paperwork is kind of misleading a little bit. I think they answered their questions honestly, and we just have to go back and figure things out with an appeal and go from there.”

Staff writer Jimmy Durkin contributed to this report.

Phil Jensen

  • I am under one name, my brother ,cousoin ,friends and others blog with me-we feel the same- like 10 of us- so if this is want you want to hear so be it.

    De La Salle WILL NEVER be investigated- because they win it pisses people off. Salesian is being given a bad rap. Catholic schools are whippin” your sons because of the training, coaching and the inability of your sons” not to step up and take FULL acountabilty. Nuff said- I hope I stirred it up.

  • De La Salle will never be investigated- they are like the Pentagon- they run the roost and set the playing table. If they don’t run the roost, your school can’t possiblty run the roost. It’s like the Navy, CAN DO, if you can’t step back and let the professionals govern.

  • Kendall’s Mom

    To Ebal5, PAID TO PLAY my a**! Where were you when I was writing that $800 tutition check every month plus $300 in transportation costs and that’s with financial aid. So the students who get financial aid and don’t play sports what are they PAID TO STUDY? CMON MAN!

  • s1lverngreen

    Kendall’s mom. Well said…I’ve been down this road with some of these folks attacking the privates…it’s the same old tired a$$ argument of recruiting, unfair advantage, blah, blah, blah. By the way, I am with you that it’s chicken S*&^ that someone calls out kids by names on these public forums.

  • bambam


    Well said on post #50. I also grew up in Fremont and was going to express the same reasoning as you did on why MSJ is having a huge success in the academic department. I went from public to private and my sister went from private to public. I have first hand knowledge about the differences between the two. My son played every minute of the season for the 2010 NCS champion soccer team at DLS. No club team wanted him due to his size for his position but he was determined to play for DLS and show all of these club teams not to judge by size but by his heart. These people don’t understand that is what DLS is loaded with in the classroom and on the athletic fields. I see pure determination when I watch this years soccer team and Basketball team play. They are very well coached and undersize for the most part. They play as a team and give 110%. That is playing for DLS………

  • Felicia

    I transferred my son from Kennedy to Salesian for his safety and security. Never mind he was also a basketball player, Kennedy was constantly on lock down, teachers sleeping in class, students braiding hair and playing dominoes. Seriously! and he also played AAU for the Soliders. Salesian gave me a piece of mind and comfort. Yes, I paid tution, books and uniforms. It was all worth it when he graduated in 2005. I don’t care what sport you play, if you don’t apply it in the classroom; Salesian will not give you a free pass.
    I support Salesian High and the basketball program.
    Good luck on the appeal and gooo Chiefs, I mean Pride:)

  • renegades10

    Kendall’s Mom, thank you very much for shedding some light onto this with your own experience.

  • some people on here are lumping every student-athlete that attends a private school into the same category. Of course there are some kids that attend certain private schools because of the athletic advantages, but there are also some student athletes attending because they have aspirations of attending a good college and want the best academics. What’s wrong with that? Stop selling our kids short, thinking they’re only interested in athletics and not about getting a good education. My kids works just as hard in the classroom as they do on the court. I said it before and I will say it again, there are tons of kids that attend public schools that don’t necessarily live in the attendance areas. Why aren’t they ever questioned? Also living in Fremont, having attended public schools in Fremont, having children who did as well, msj is on a whole other level and is by no means a good comparison for an achieving public school with limited resources. I hope Bird gets the appeal and wish him good luck.

  • AreYouSure?

    There is a public program called Middle High School at Contra Costa College that specifically targets at-risk students who want to excel academically but find the pathway at the WCCUSD HS in their neighborhood unsupportive….but no hoops- or any other sport- through MHS. I know the issues in West CC. Graduated from there and both parents lifetime educators in the district. MHS promotes smaller class sizes and individualized attention which then specifically guides their students to four year colleges.
    As far as transfers and those who question inter-public transfers, read this morning’s Chronicle where columnist Mitch Stephens quotes NCS commish Lemmon as “ruling on more than 1,000 eligibility issues this school year” alone. “That’s just an estimate. It’s probably more.”

  • brandonbeard

    man I don’t know but it does seem like that article was putting out alot of info on the players. Not sure how they did not think it would cause some issues. Especially from them saying the big kid told him to come across the bridge, why would he even put that in the article. Sounds a little fishy to me.

  • brandonbeard

    I always thought Catholic school could recruit in a sense!

  • Joe

    brandonbeard-I think he put it in becuase it’s a good quote and it illustrates something something about the kids. What part of the info seems out of place?

  • guesswhatteam09′

    wahhhhhhhh lets all cry about DLS…were a private catholic school…were ALLOWED to have people from outside of the zipcode to come and attend our school…


    we dont recruit. sooo keep saying what you want but youll never win…

    so either cry more or just accept that your schools are worse at the sport.

  • ebal fan

    Team09 get out of the blog.
    Nobody cares what you have to say, You have the best athletes that’s why nobody challenges. What if you had kids only from your ZIP, how would you be?

  • THEanonymous

    I say De La Salle move to the West Catholic Athletic League, where they can be in a private school paradise. So what if the proximity is an inconvenience to this move? It is more fair. The people who say De La Salle does not recruit, you never know. And that’s in addition to talented players being attracted to the school. It’s one thing for a school to dominate an athletic league with very high levels of talent, but another for that school to get so accustomed to winning that they panic when hit hard by graduation and cheat with their recruiting power. This means sometimes consideration for legal action (switching leagues) will sometimes not fly because there are too many hurdles in the way, but sometimes it does. Whether or not De La Salle’s case is the latter, the move would likely be best. But I understand it’s a long way, at least four more years, from happening. My point is, the teams shall play on without feeling too much sorrow over this mess, and basketball is not life, if the former does not work out, chances are the latter will.

    If DLS is cheating their players will make themselves look too good in the future, and lower teams like Cal will later gradually catch up with them on and off the field. If not, maybe it is too bad for the players, but chances are they will recover.

  • ebal fan #2

    Wow, a whole new group of haters! DLS has not had a impact kid transfer into their football or basketball programs in over a decade. If anything, freshman drop out and go to other schools because they can’t handle the program or don’t like the school. That’s legit. For those that want to scream Montana, the young one (who transferred out and attended Oaks Christian, LA powerhouse) came to DLS as a freshman and then left. His older bro was a 3rd stringer on varsity.

    This thread should be about Salesion, they violated rules, not anyone else.

  • EBAL5

    Ebal Fan, THEanonymouse,

    I’m surprised that you haven’t got the usual response yet from Siiverngreen & Guesswhatt of “wahhhhhhhhhhh”, blah, blah, blah, “and same old tired a$$ argument”. You have to understand that these and other individuals think were all playing by the same rules, I don’t think they realize that:
    1) Public “EBAL” schools cannot have of out of area players on their team, (I’ll take that back, they have admitted that this is an advantage to them)
    2) Only 1 team in EBAL is sponsored by “NIKE”
    3) Only 1 team in EBAL has the ability to offer “PAY TO PLAY” incentives, (Let me restate that “financial assistance”).

    Am I jealous of the DLS/Servite admission staff? You bet ya, I’ll bet even the Oakland Raiders/GS Warriors are. As they review admission packages to assist those less fortunate (always out of the local area) it amazes me how they continually are able to “identify athletic talent” I mean, offer admission to future NFL players by just reviewing their admission package. (I know, your going to tell me that no athletic coaches are involved in the admission process.) I could also be wrong here as I have yet to see a package from either of these schools, it could very well have sections asking what is your 4/40 time, vertical leap, bench press etc.. At the high school 1 or 2 star athletes came dominate the playing field/court. Again my congratulations/admiration to those hard working admission staffs at these schools.
    Advantage: DLS, Servite

    I always read about how much hard work and effort the athletes at these schools put in and that is what makes them better. I agree with that and with a little future pro talent (usually commuting from outside the local area) on the team, bingo “NCS Championship”

    Level playing field in EBAL? DLS say’s it is, and they don’t want to change a thing. Why would they?

  • guesswhatteam09′

    Ebal Fan — and people dont care about what you have to say either there buddy…so keep your mouth shut as well…

    and we dont recruit, i know that for a fact there bud, and we’d fair just fine with kids from our own zip seeing as most of them are….nice try tho bud. maybe next time? oo wait…we’ll continue winning.

  • guesswhatteam09′

    has it ever occurred to ANY of you people that KIDS recognize the DLS program and apply there in order to be a part of the program…..clearly not…

    and the admission reviewers are all middle-aged women ha….definitely not athletic coaches buddy.

  • Ballin

    Team 09 – Blah Blah Blah

    If WE were allowed to have kids outside of the zip code attend our public schools DLS would not even stand a chance in competition period end of story!!

    Oh and I hope middle aged women who you are saying are clueless to sports in the admissions office do not read this. Real classless. I know more middle aged women who know more about sports, football, recruiting, rules of the game…. these women would take you down all day long BUDDY!

  • guesswhatteam09′

    hey “ballin” (which you have probably never said out loud during a game or even heard)…probably more along the lines of “oo damn, i got stuffed…again”
    ever heard of Deer Valley? Antioch High?…..they have students from richmond and oakland attending their schools and they still lose to the white boys of De La…..

    They seem to be welll away from their zip code dont they??? but keep up with your argument (if you believe that you have one)

    and when did i mention they were clueless to sports? haha, keep reading my post but you’ll never find it….they probably will know more about sports than your mind will ever comprehend (understand)….threw that in there just incase your incompetency level is as low as i believe it is…but hey, ill keep the chances we have…buddy. haha

  • Ballin

    WOW real bad 09… Incompetence? Duh right back at you, read your own post AGAIN…. oh and read #64 too… Hahahaha

  • Big Mike

    Ballin we know you are not a fan of DLS we got it… Not too many people are. Why? they win very difficult to beat them frustrating to many… with that said jerks like guesswhatteam09 who defends DLS nasty and arrogant make matters worst (I take it he is a DLS alum)

    guesswhatteam09 – if you are going to defend DLS please be intelligent about it and say something meaningful like others who are supporters of DLS on this blog do.

  • Prep Fan

    DLS supporters would do well to just appoint Renegades and Silverngreen to be the voices of the Spartan faithful on here, as the many reincarnations of BigJoe/YoMama/BigDog or whatever the latest version is get very tiresome and do not reflect well on DLS or their supporters.

    On a side note, EBAL fan #2 in post #66 states that “DLS has not had an impact kid transfer into their football or basketball programs in over a decade.” Just what is an impact kid? Chris Mullin is currently the 6th man for the basketball team, at least he was the first one in off the bench last Monday at Haas. He was reportedly the top freshman at SRV 2 years ago and transferred to DLS last year. DLS prides itself on not having impact kids and relying on everyone to do their part. Mullin is every bit of an impact kid on that team as anyone else and he’ll probably get more playing time as the season goes on and next season as he is only a junior. He would be a starter this season and helping SRV had he not transferred. That is an impact in and of itself as it takes away from SRV and gives to DLS, the two top bananas in the EBAL this year.

  • renegades10

    EBAL5- I think your “Pay to Play” idea has been shot down already by Kendall’s Mom. But as it goes, public school is free, except for the taxes the parents pay which DLS parents all pay as well. So your argument about only one school in the EBAL can offer financial assistance is bogus, because only one school requires parents to pay tuition if you want to turn that argument around.

    Now in regards to uniforms, I have seen plenty of local high schools wearing Nike uniforms, so wouldn’t that make them sponsored by Nike as well? When I was at DLS it wasn’t given to us for free.

    Did you know that Christian Brothers’ schools on the West Coast are mandated to have 5% of their student body be below the poverty level?

    Let me ask Ballin and yourself this question, if all this you say is true about DLS, why weren’t the Atkinson Bros. suiting up for DLS? They have the NFL genes in them. If you guys were right, the DLS coaches should have been all over them. How about Kyle Wright being rejected by the school? Ended up being National POY for the 2002 season. Why did DJ Williams’ mother have to sell pies and cookies door to door just to cover her son’s tuition at DLS? Because she was willing to make the sacrifices to send him there.

  • guesswhatteam09′

    Ballin – i read #64…..whats your point? hahahahaha.

    oo and i re read my post again…where did i state they were clueless? no where….

    the fact that you wrote that proves your incompetence…sorry, i have to go and pick up my paycheck hahaha. peace

  • Prep Fan

    I have heard those rumors. If DLS has a completely blind application process and no one knows who has applied, then how do you know for sre whether the Atkinson brothers or Kyle Wright or anyone else for that matter applied or not? We only know who is accepted once they are in. And from what I have heard, it is probably tougher to get accepted into DLS than the the U of Miami. 🙂

  • renegades10

    because people around the town knew he applied and did not again. Also I nvr said the Atkinson’s applied, just suggesting that if the coaches were really looking at kids from an early age they would have been all over them.

  • renegades10

    *did not get in.

  • EBAL5

    Dear Abby,

    Today I was on by favorite blog site talking to my friends when I met a new friend, “GuessWhatteam09″”. He and I were a blogging about our schools, I told him “that the admission staff at his high school was real good at identifying real good players”. He told me “that his school doesn’t recruit”, I don’t know why he said that because I didn’t mention it, but we were starting to become real good friends because he started calling me “Bud”. I then told him how hard the athletes at his school must work because they are real good and they drive a long way to get there. Well next thing ya know he was calling me “Buddy” and I was beginning to think I had a new “BFF”. I even thought that maybe we would both go to a high school basketball or football game together. We then started talking about how a level playing field makes for a good game (you know its not fair when one team has the uphill side when the other has the downhill side) when suddenly out of nowhere he said that “I HAD BETTER KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT”.

    Abby, Can you tell me why he said that, because I know I wasn’t chewing with my mouth open.


  • Ballin

    EBAL5 – Hysterical! Can’t stop laughing!!

  • Felicia

    @Perkins: Jahvid Best’s PARENTS live in Vallejo and have since they moved from Richmond when Jahvid was still at Salesian. How do I know this? B/C my oldest son was #42 on the Varsity basketball team when Jahvid was on the J.V. team as a freshman. I’ve been to their home. I don’t know who lives in an apartment behind St.Pats, but the Best family (both parents with good jobs) live in a two car garage, 4brm, 2 1/2 ba home. And you ask again, how do I know this? b/c Jahvid and my younger son #53 both played at Cal. I know the Best family very well and they paid tuition like the rest of us Salesian parents. Don’t hate because our kids were talented enough to get scholarships and now Jahvid is in the NFL. This was no accident; he is truly a talented young man who is now getting paid for doing something he loves.

  • guesswhatteam09′

    EBAL5 – sorry you thought we were “good friends”…i know you don’t have any and that still hasn’t changed…cute BFF line, it was really touching but sorry old “friend” but it wont happen, i tend to become friends with people that will benefit me in life which you clearly cannot do…

    nice story tho hansel…best of luck with the friend thing though. i hope it all works out for you.

  • s1lverngreen

    been down this road before pal…get over it…I am pretty sure your next posting will reveal that DLS has a contract with the NFL…Start drafting your letter to Congress so they can start the hearings EBAL5..Good football to you sir!

  • guesswhatteam09′

    oo and I never stated that YOU said we recruit now did i?? oo yeah, thats right i didn’t…

    so abby, tell me why he said this? ha..

    nice try there “bud” have fun on this blog with your friends…

    “Dear Abby,

    Today I was on by favorite blog site talking to my friends” – EBAL5

    pretty sad your friends are people over the internet on a blog.

    im bored. moving on.. peace.

  • guesswhatteam09′

    uh oh s1lvergreen…

    dont say pal….he might overthink it and believe you’re his friend too…haha

    thank you tho for telling him to get over it….much appreciated

  • junior

    Mullin’s older brother was already enrolled at DLS.

  • EBAL5


    Since you brought up the NFL I wondering if you had heard whether or not “DLS and Salesian, are going to increase the salary cap for the 2011/12 school year or are they going to leave it where it’s at?

  • S1lverngreen

    Not sure Ebal5, why don’t you ask you reliable sources? You seem to have an insight writing those monthly tuition checks and all…

  • Kendall’s Mom

    Dear Abby! As my son would say “Mom who’s Dear Abby? ” Oh she ‘s just a columnist’s that friendless middle aged Caucasian men write to for advice. I said it before and I’ll say it again in life the most successful programs attract top performers whether it be academically or athletically. So you people who get on here with your private agendas, and your own kids who graduated ten and twenty years ago nobody cares. IMO unless you have little kids playing organized sports or high schooler playing your opinion is IRRELEVANT! WE SHOULD SUPPORT ALL STUDENT ATHLETES BE IT PUBLIC OR PRIVATE AND APPLAUD THEM SINCE THERE ARE WAY WORSE THINGS THESE KIDS COULD BE DOING.

  • storm

    We all realize there is not a level athletic playing field in the EBAL with DLS in the league. We also realize that most parents with talented student athletes would be willing to commute to Concord and they do not need to recruit. Those families whom choose to attend there public school do so for various reasons which include academics, commuting and tuition. Considering all of that one must make a decision to go where they feel their son or daughter, across the street, should complete an education preparing for the rigors of college. The families whom have chosen the public path to college for our children must under stand an athletic event against DLS is not at par, but an education is so important and using state approved teachers could provide a better way to a life long career. Now one must understand DLS has good and poor teachers as well and the same can be found in the San Ramon School district but in the past DLS has had some state problems with meeting education requirements. They have managed currently to convince the state they are qualified. My honest opinion is that DLS should leave the EBAL if athletics are that important to those blogs above and compete nationally so that they can provide competition for their storied athletic program. If parents want a special academic program for their student then attend a public school or reach higher and attend a private school like Athenian and stop complaining about athletic programs.

  • GridironMan

    Kmom are you Dear Abby? Really?

    Duh… of course your succesful getting kids outside your zip code to play…. oooo

  • guesswhatteam09′


    I like your insight on everything besides the whole “past DLS has had some state problems with meeting education requirements.”

    One does not need a teaching credential in order to teach religion and philosophy and classes along those lines. Or ethics for that matter. We have priests and fathers that teach those classes that know more about the bible than some teachers ever will in their lives….So when it comes to meeting standards academically just look at our graduation rate (100%) and our percentage of students that continue on to four year schools (above 90%)…The facts are there, one can argue that our stuff is illegitimate but but they dont have a case…

    my point: a student attended DLS for his entire freshman year and is actually still attending there….but he lives in Antioch, CA…the public school near his house (Deer Valley) sent him progress reports and report cards every other month stating that he was “a pleasure to have in class” and that he was “an exceptional student”….

    He passed his freshman year at DEER VALLEY with a 3.35 and NEVER ATTENDED ONE day of school there seeing as he was enrolled at DLS…

    Public school teachers get looked higher upon and often see raises if their students attend class and that is why this student was marked present….

    The content within that public school teachers mind didn’t matter to him/her but rather that his students were marked present whether they were or were not for his/her benefit…

    DLS is also college preporatory, meaning we dont have classes like woodshop and autoshop because we want our students to achieve more than that…So, with all of this said. I believe that DLS meets and goes beyond educational requirements set by the state. whereas Deer Valley and public schools alike pretend to.

  • Kendall’s Mom

    GridIronboy, my Dear Abby comment was directed twds EBAL5 but if you want to lump yourself in with friendless middle aged men be my guest. PS maybe you should reread your post before you click send. Because it read as if you hit your head too many times against the Gridiron. Same a$$ corny argument.

  • guesswhatteam09′

    gettin handed to by the madre…well said kendalls mom… well said.

  • storm

    I am sorry you had to provide a case where the public school has failed to provide for a student and the community at large given a dishonest evaluation. We both know all schools have problems. Thank you for your response but I can not agree that DLS is a true college prep. Having sent a son to DLS from St. Isadores and a current parish member, while teaching at a true college prep in the area. I could point out examples of where DLS has fallen down but that would tarnish a school trying to do the right things for it’s students. Believe me none of the schools in the EBAL compare academically with some of the schools of the BCL East. The service a school like DLS provides for students from less than adequate school districts can not be ignored but if a family has the resource to send their child to a true college prep they will not be attending DLS for academic growth.

  • GridironMan

    oooo so tough Kmommy dearest

  • guesswhatteam09′


    Well said…Even though we may not be the BEST college prep. by standards set out by the state of CA we are considered a college prep school. Im not arguing that the school is the best around but it is better academically than most. As for BCL East, im sure you’re right and i wont argue with you on that one. Im just simply stating that DLS is a great school and provides their students with one of the best educations (if you use it to its full potential)…Dont be sorry i had to state a case either, im just reinforcing the fact that other schools such as public school in the bay area lack certain educational qualities that they shouldn’t…

    as for GridironMan,

    If you were a man, you wouldn’t speak to a lady the way you are…so please, for the sake of everyone stfu.

  • renegades10

    Storm is correct that schools like College Prep, Headroyce, Bentley, and Athenian are more rigorous academic schools than DLS. I have friends that went to three of those four and every single one of those kids went to an Ivy League, Stanford, Berkeley, and Duke. I was a student at DLS and the academics at DLS do not compare to those schools. Remember however, that those schools are among the most selective anywhere in California. I know very, very deserving students who did not get into CP and Headroyce despite having outstanding grades from a tough private middle school. DLS was lacking in one area when I was there and that was math. They have since done away with the “integrated math program” and from what I have heard it has gotten much better. That being said, as I try to say over and over again, it’s not the overall academics where DLS outshines the public schools, it’s the help available to all students through things such as smaller class sizes, counselors who know you by name, and the required monthly sitdowns with the college and career counselors. The public schools in my area cannot offer the same kind of help and guidance to the students.

  • GridironMan

    Guesswhatajerk09 oooo so tough too… must be mommy’s boy
    stfu… nice… little boy big mouth…
    Believe it was told to you a few post back… whah whah whah