Berkeley’s Hunter has eligibility appeal denied

A three-person California Interscholastic Federation appeals committee unanimously upheld a decision made by North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon to deny Berkeley High senior Khristina Hunter eligibility in basketball this season.
Both Lemmon and Spencer Smith, an attorney representing the Hunter family, confirmed the ruling.

Lemmon said Friday that Smith’s law office has notified the NCS that it plans to file for a temporary restraining order hearing within the California court system.
“Basically what (the committee) did was uphold my decision as commissioner that there was ‘prima facie’ evidence of an athletically motivated transfer,” Lemmon said.
Hunter, a 6-foot-1 forward who transferred from Rodriguez-Fairfield to Berkeley last spring, has signed to play at San Diego State next season. The committee’s decision came three weeks after Hunter’s appeal hearing.
Lemmon had denied Hunter’s eligibility due to a violation of CIF bylaw 510, which states that a transferring student must disclose pre-enrollment contact with any member of the new school’s athletic department. The Hunter family did not correctly fill out the transfer paperwork to reflect that Hunter played AAU basketball with several members of the Berkeley team.
The Hunter family said it interpreted the wording on the transfer forms to mean that only pre-enrollment contact with a coach had to be reported.
According to the CIF bylaws, failure to disclose pre-enrollment contact “may be considered prima facie evidence or undue influence to attend the school and may cause the student to be ineligible for high school athletics.”
Smith said that the appeals committee didn’t find any additional evidence that recruiting took place, but that simply filling out the transfer paperwork incorrectly was enough evidence for the appeals committee to uphold Lemmon’s initial decision.
“We’re going to ask the court to decide whether the rules are being applied arbitrarily,” Smith said, citing that another Rodriguez-Berkeley transfer with ties to the same AAU team made the same mistake as Hunter on her transfer paperwork. That student is now playing for the Yellowjackets after correcting the paperwork error.

Stephanie Hammon

  • Prep Fan

    This sounds like the exact same situation involved with the Jabari Bird case at Salesian. A box wasn’t checked, but no evidence that any recruiting took place. That does not bode well for Mr. Bird. The difference being that the NCS looked at her paperwork prior to the season and found the box wasn’t checked, while in the Bird matter they waited until 18 games had been played and it resulted in forfeits. At least Berkeley wont have to foreit any games as a result of this ruling. They seem to be rolling right along without her, but I’m sure Carondelet isn’t shedding any tears over this ruling.

  • Yoda

    It looks to me like the CIF is interpreting its own rule improperly, since prima facie evidence merely means the student must present evidence showing that there was no recruitment to rebut the presumption caused by failing to check the box.

    Also, after reviewing the form and the instructions to parents, the CIF should be ashamed of the shoddy manner in which prohibited contacts are defined. No wonder there is confusion – the definitions are horrible and do not appear to cover the claimed offense here.

    I say that having absolutely no interest in this case or the Bird case, just a passing curiosity. Lemmon ought to focus on fixing the problem rather than punishing students for failing to understand unclear directions.

  • Oh boy

    It’s obvious most of these kids are not transferring for athletic reasons. Gil Lemmon couldn’t care less about student-athletes. Hunter already committed to SDSU without playing a game this year. Bird was already nationally ranked before transferring and will play at any college. Quincy Smith didn’t leave Salesian for a Deer Valley hoops program either.

    Example 1A why OAL refuses to join NCS and lose the ability to decide their own kids playing futures. And OAL doesn’t fit the “recruiting private schools” stereotype

  • Animal

    Parents hurting there kids, would have like to watch hunter play against poly but Boyd will still get them there she’s a stud

  • Upinc44

    I agree with comment #2. The confusing nature of the form is a problem. It is surprising to me that there has been little effort to make the form clearer.

  • c.sparks

    I HATE GIL LEMMON…. jeezz.. get a life. this is HIGH SCHOOL

  • Hoopjunkie

    Two pts…..
    1. I agree parents/kids should go wherever they want….period!

    2. IMO, Hunter is transferring for athletic reasons….it’s pretty to me.

    So now it’s a matter of what you believe versus how the rule is applied!

  • Sonya

    There are many more of us who problems with CIF. My family was persecuted and they deliberately accused of making changes in the box from the form. This is a big concern because they will continue to diffuse the errors if the individuals who have the problem don’t come out of the closet. My experience with CIF-SS has been the one of cruelty, bullying, diminishing, harrassment, britch of privacy, conspiracy, dictatorship, procedural irregularities, discrepancies, corruption and way too many sport politics. There has to be a consumer protection law? Now, who is going to step up to the plate and bring this issues to justice!