It’s striking to look at The Bee’s boys high school basketball rankings each week and see Cosumnes Oaks near the top with more losses than wins.
Cosumnes Oaks’ record includes 16 losses by forfeit, the result of sanctions by the Sac-Joaquin Section after a Wolfpack player was found to be an “athletically motivated transfer,” a violation of CIF rules.
But other than those 16 forfeits (the number of games played by the ineligible player), the team has just one loss, and since being punished the Wolfpack has won every game it has played – 10 consecutive.
Because of how the section chooses its playoff teams (The Bee’s Joe Davidson described the system in Tuesday’s Hometown Report), Cosumnes Oaks, 11-16, qualifies for the postseason.
One wants to be pleased for the players who did nothing wrong, acknowledging that they overcame a nasty setback caused by others. But one also must acknowledge that the team as a whole was ruled to have run afoul of regulations, regardless of who associated with the team was involved.
So what is the point of pinning 16 extra losses on a team for breaking rules if it’s nothing more than window dressing? If this group of fine young athletes continues to play well, it could win section and NorCal championships. Conceivably, Cosumnes Oaks could compete for a state title.
Perhaps it is justice, but perhaps it also gives the message that Cosumnes Oaks’ violation was no big deal. If a championship banner is won, it will hang in the school’s gym with no asterisk, and those forfeits will be pretty much meaningless.
– Brian Blomster
Should Cosumnes Oaks have been ruled ineligible for the boys basketball playoffs because of transfer rules violations?
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