A California high school’s athletic department is under scrutiny for a number of violations, the latest being a zero-period football class that some speculate was made to get in additional practice time or to boost the GPAs of football players.
The North Coast Section (NCS), which governs school sports leagues throughout Northern California, is investigating Clayton Valley Charter High School after the NCS received anonymous tips about the zero-period class. The class in question, which starts before the time of normal classes, had an enrollment total of 53 students, 47 of whom were on the football team the previous season.
NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon said, “I’m worried that it’s not really an opportunity to have a class on campus, but rather it’s really an effort…to practice out of season.”
According to Lemmon, the class does not appear in the current course catalog or the catalog for next year, and he found no evidence of a decision by the school board to add the course.
The school’s executive director Dave Linzey responded to the allegations saying the class in question is a “strength and conditioning” class that was developed when football players were unable to enroll in other similar classes. Linzey says the class was added in the same way as classes in other subjects.
However, according to the anonymous tip received by Lemmon, the class was added to the schedule in late February, well after the beginning of the semester on January 12. Football players are required to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average during the spring semester in order to be able to start games once the season begins in the fall. Based on what Lemmon knows of the class so far, he says it “looks like a violation.”
Linzey claims that strength and conditioning is a course already offered in the catalog so it doesn’t need board approval. He added that the class was actually made in December but students weren’t enrolled in it until later because counselors were busy.
If officials find that the class does violate rules, it could lead to postseason bans for one or more of the school’s teams, or possibly worse.
The investigation of the questionable football class comes after a number of other violations made by the school’s athletic department.
The school is also facing additional penalties for violating its two-year probation -- which resulted from improper football transfers -- by failing to properly document a basketball transfer this season. The school was already serving a one-year probation that resulted from improper summer football practices. Additionally, four Clayton Valley Charter athletes pleaded not guilty to charges that came from an alleged armed robbery of a drug dealer.
Lemmon intensified the school’s probation and had previously said that any other violations during this period could bring “seriously consequences to multiple sports,” and the football class could be that violation.