Franklin responds to SJS allegations
The Sac-Joaquin Section received a formal response from Franklin High School and district officials Friday regarding allegations that Franklin’s football program has engaged in “extensive” and “well-documented” recruiting violations.
Two weeks ago, the Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation announced an investigation turned up allegations of the program recruiting up to 10 players over the past three seasons from the American Somoa to play for the Yellow Jackets.
The section had given Franklin officials until Friday to formally respond to the accusations. But in a story appearing in last Thursday’s Sacramento Bee, Franklin coach Tom Verner said the allegations are a result of a personal vendetta against him by section commissioner Pete Saco.
“We are pleased that they have taken the opportunity to address the charges we have made,” a media release from the section office stated. “We are interested in evidence and constructive dialogue – not the barrage of personal attacks in the media that are clearly designed to distract attention from the charges against Franklin.
Instead of responding to the section’s request, the Franklin High School has requested six months of additional time. That request was rejected by the CIFSJS, according to the statement, for the following reasons:
• Both the school and the district have been aware of alleged bylaw violations for recruitment of American-Samoan football players by Franklin High School for more than a year;
• Many other schools (from Merced to Grass Valley), as well as the playoff selection process, are impacted by any delays to the investigation;
• Finally, the time allotted to Franklin High School to respond by today has been consistent with the Section’s bylaws and constitution.
“The Section’s top priority is maintaining fairness, integrity and ethical behavior in high school sports,” the release stated. “Cheating will, under no circumstances, be tolerated, and efforts to defend such practices only set a poor example for student-athletes, the community and our society at large.”
The statement said the section will be reviewing the case to determine what, if any, actions are appropriate and necessary.
“Until such time,” the release states, “the section will have no further public comment out of respect to the process and all those involved.”
Nevada Union lost to the Yellow Jackets 45-21 Friday in Stockton.
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