Slap on the Wrist: Davis High Soccer Program Placed on Probation for November Incident

On December 1, the Davis High Athletics program received official notification from CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) of official sanctions issued as a result of events at the Senior High School Men’s Soccer Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship on November 15, 2014.

CIF sanctions dictate that Davis Senior High School (DSHS) soccer program will be placed on probation for the 2015-2016 school year; while the team will continue to play as scheduled, any infractions, violations or misconduct of CIF rules and regulations that occur during that period could incur the team further sanctions.

DHS Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson said, “The recent CIF sanctions and the decisions made by the high school administration are clear, appropriate and aligned.”

According to the release, “All DSHS athletes abide by the CIF Code of Conduct that outlines the expectations of sportsmanship and conduct. The DSHS administration as well as CIF determined that the actions of a number of the student-athletes involved in this unfortunate incident violated this code.”

Individual student disciplinary decisions made by the administration remain confidential. DSHS principal Will Brown underscored, “While this situation has been unfortunate, we are proud of the professionalism and diligence of our coaching staff and administrative team who ensured that education was at the center of each decision.”

DSHS has informed parents and the team members of the recent CIF sanctions. Jeff Lorenson stated, “I want to be clear that DSHS does not condone the behaviors exhibited by these few individuals and it will not define the tone of our athletic program. We offer an educational–athletic program marked by the highest standards of sportsmanship. This incident can serve as an example for all student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

Jeff Lorenson continued, “While it is the goal of DSHS Athletics to develop great student-athletes and teams, our purpose is to also cultivate leaders and quality citizens. On the path to success we will have triumph and we will have failure, but through adversity true character is developed.”

The local paper described the incident: “Instead of awarding the Blue Devils a penalty kick, the center referee waved it off, resulting in a mass confrontation, with the seven players rushing at the official.

“The players surrounded the official in a semicircle, forcing him backwards until he was met by a two-handed shove from behind by (the goalkeeper).

“(T)he team’s starting goalkeeper, ran the length of the field in order to make contact with the referee. After the shove, the referee showed (the goalkeeper) a red card and immediately blew his whistle to end the game.”

The district administration immediately suspended the seven players.

At the time, Jeff Lorenson, stated, “I think it’s important to report that this single incident does not define Davis High School soccer, our school (or) our district as a whole.”

Click here to see the November 23 Vanguard Commentary on this incident – Sunday Commentary: Is Soccer Incident an Embodiment of a Larger Problem?

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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    1. hpierce

      Perhaps, weighing all the facts, including the district’s immediately response regarding the players, it is appropriate for CIF to issue only a “caution” (yellow card)?  Remember, as I’m fairly certain CIF will, in football/futbol/soccer, a second yellow card gets you a red card.  A form of “probation” if you will.

      I’m satisfied that the actual matter is settled, and now it is incumbent on all DHS coaches and players to “fly straight”.

  1. Barack Palin

    Liberals crack me up.  They continually cry about criminals getting over sentenced for their crimes and now are going to let untold thousands of other criminals out of jail because of Prop 47 but then they turn around and want to go for the throat after 6 kids argue with a ref over a bad call and another shoves him.

  2. TrueBlueDevil

    This notification seems content-free.

    So the team is on probation, but still plays games. What exactly is the punishment, then? Are they not eligible for the playoffs and individual awards?

    Second, at the school level the goal keeper could (might, should?) be off the team. Maybe he will already graduate. But in the classroom I believe what he did would be considered assault and battery. I don’t see why he should be on the team, actions have consequences. He could also be barred from the end-of-the-season banquet, and other ceremonial events.

    1. Anon

      “The district administration immediately suspended the seven players.”

      I am assuming the seven players involved in the reprehensible behavior are no longer on the team.  The rest of the team not involved in the fracas are being allowed to play, but the team as a whole is on probation.  If this is the case, and someone correct me if I am wrong, it seems a reasonable solution.

  3. ryankelly

    This is not a slap on the wrist.

    The individual team members involved were given individual punishments ranging from short to indefinite bans to play any CIF sport .  The entire team is on probation (aka yellow card).  It is hard to play soccer when one has to be careful of every action on and off the field.  One argued call, one flash of anger, one excessively hard hit, and the player (and the team) gets further sanctions.

    Here we are again.  This is High School sports.  This is a game.  Things got heated and players overreacted and lost control of themselves.   No one should lose their job over this.  The players involved have been suspended from school and received bans to play high school sports for an appropriate length of time for their poor behavior.  I’m sure that the coach will caution his players going forward that any negative interaction with any official (ref, coach, athletic director, players and coaches of opposing team, etc.) will result in some kind of punishment – from loss of playing time to being kicked off the team to suspension from school.

    This stuff even happens in AYSO.  I’ve seen games end when a player threatened the referee, players sent off of the field to cool off when things got heated, etc.  However, no one attempted to ruin the kids lives.   These are kids and these are teachable moments.   I’m certain that the players involved will do things differently going forward.

    I am satisfied with the response from the administration, and the CIF.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      The actions of the goal keeper aren’t the norm. Do that to a teacher, and there will be a heavy price to pay. This attack was not normal behavior, please.

    2. zaqzaq

      Suspending the players is yet one more example of this knee jerk reaction of suspending students from school as a form of discipline.  The primary purpose of the school is to teach our youth.  Not allowing them to attend their classes for their behavior during a sporting event is counter  productive.  The school district needs to find a more appropriate way to discipline students.  I wonder how much English, math, history, … these students learned while suspended.  I suspect that their video game proficiency increased.   It is bad enough that the start of the school day at the high school revolves around sports.  Now students are not in class because of sports.  A more appropriate response would be to remove them from all athletic teams for a period of time.  Not being able to attend the prom or any sports/team banquets.  How about a 10 page research paper on good sportsmanship and the dangers associated with their behaviors.  Make them use their brains instead of their fingers on a video game.  There are cases in the US where soccer referees have died when punched during games.  This is just another example of our school district’s failure regarding the use of suspensions.  The only time a student should be removed from the classroom is if they are a danger to fellow students or are so disruptive that the other students are not able to learn.  Any other use of suspensions is counterproductive to society’s goals for it schools.

  4. Tia Will


    Liberals crack me up”

    It looks to me like you are simply playing the “liberal card”. I do not see that this is a liberal vs conservative issue. This is a matter of using this unfortunate episode to learn life lessons.  Maybe it is only the kids that need to learn them. Maybe some of the coaching staff could do with a refresher course in how adults handle disappointment so that they can teach that more effectively. If what Anon posted is approaching what actually occurred, I would agree that this sounds about right.


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