The story surrounding the San Luis Obispo High School boys soccer team came to an end Sunday night.
Principal Leslie O’Connor said the school’s appeal to the CIF-Southern Section asking it to overturn a ruling that caused SLO High to forfeit 10 league games when an investigation found four players were participating in a outside recreational league games during the season — a violation of CIF rules —was denied.
“The CIF and the Section are not unsympathetic to SLOHS’ situation. However, playoff representation, by design, vests full power at the league level. SLOHS has admitted to violating those rules and as such, the penalty is self-executing,” CIF-Southern Section wrote in an email.
O’Connor said he was disappointed in the ruling.
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“Our aim and intent was as always to do what is best for our student-athletes. We hoped that our efforts would yield in a continuation of our boys’ season,” O’Connor wrote in an email. “This rule needs more discretion than zero tolerance. We need to put students first and the emotional impact of the decisions our team faced were put aside for technicalities... The irony is that the new CIF section (Central Section) we move to next school year permits teams to enter the playoffs regardless of their overall record. Seems like we are moving to a more student-athlete-centered environment!”
The final ruling ended the season for SLO High, a team that is ranked in the Top 25 in the state by MaxPreps.com and would have been the No. 2 seed in the Division 2 playoffs.
Arroyo Grande (13-6-4, 11-0-2 PAC 8), the PAC 8 champion after the SLO High forfeits, will open the first round of the Division 3 playoffs at home against Thousand Oaks (10-6-5). Paso Robles (16-4-6, 10-3-1 PAC 8) will go on the road to play Newbury Park (11-1-2) in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs.