Looks like Santa Margarita Catholic High School and new head football coach Harry Welch have been taking lessons from the University of Southern California.
These days, that's not a good thing.
Santa Margarita filed for and was granted a temporary restraining order against the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section on Monday, banning the CIF from releasing information about the Eagles' recent punishment for violating section rules.
The whole thing started in April when a CIF-SS investigation found that Welch violated section rules by holding an “open house” for parents of prospective football players at the Rancho Santa Margarita high school's brand-spanking-new, 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art athletic facility.
Sounds legit, right?
Well, CIF-SS enforcers didn't think so, moving forward with a proposed one-year playoff ban for the football program as punishment.
In response, Santa Margarita offered to self-impose an undisclosed penalty on itself. On May 5, the CIF-SS officially accepted that proposition and stated that the investigation was closed.
According to the Los Angeles Times' varsity sports blog, Santa Margarita won't let anybody know what that self-imposed punishment was. The school claims that the CIF can't release a letter it received from the school detailing the penalty because it regarded a private employee.
Again, the CIF doesn't see it that way–it says Santa Margarita voided that privacy just by sending the letter.
The fact that Santa Margarita is avoiding being transparent is pretty sketchy. Then again, most investigations into athletic programs are–just ask USC.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 23.