By Stephanie Hammon
Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 8:54 pm in Girls basketball.
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.