On May 4, the California Interscholastic Federation’s State Federated Council approved two measures that will have a big impact on the 2012-13 season and beyond.
The CIF, California’s governing body for interscholastic athletics, currently requires students who transfer schools without a valid change of residence to sit out varsity sports for one calendar year unless they are granted a hardship waiver. Beginning July 1, student-athletes in this situation will have to sit out of varsity competition for 30 days. For winter sports, which include basketball, student-athletes would re-gain eligibility on Dec. 31.
The change in transfer rules coincides with the rising legal costs the CIF has endured in recent years when many eligibility rulings were challenged in court. In one documented case involving a single student-athlete, the CIF endured legal costs of $150,000.
"The revisions to the transfer rule are designed to provide a better experience for students in California," said Rebecca Brutlag, CIF Media Relations Officer.
The State Federated Council also approved an open division for state boys and girls basketball championships beginning next school year. The open division will be comprised of the state’s best teams, regardless of the school’s enrollment or the strength of the league in which it competes in. Since the 1987-88 season, the CIF has conducted state championships in five divisions based on enrollment. Next season, there will be a sixth state champion crowned with the other divisions remaining intact.
The CIF hopes the open division will spark interest in an event that has seen attendance and interest wane in recent years. The transfer rule could create more powerful teams and possibly more interest if two nationally-ranked programs meet in the open division state final.
"The Open Division will allow the best teams in the State of California, regardless of division, to compete for a State Championship," Brutlag said. "We believe this will bring a renewed level of interest to the event that will be beneficial to all involved."
Recruiting updates: Readers beware
Amile Jefferson of Friends' Central, the No. 25 ranked player in the ESPN 100, signed a letter of intent with Duke after a long and exhaustive process the day before the end of the spring signing period.
According to Jefferson, some of the articles published on recruiting sites the past two months contained information that was just plain inaccurate.
"For a couple of months I've read stories where it said I was going to announce the next day, or that I had trimmed my list ... I wasn't sure where they made up that stuff from," Jefferson said.
He also read stories consisting of pure speculation and not based on direct quotes from the 6-foot-8 forward or his immediate family.
"People would say I was down to two schools or knew I wasn't leaving the state (of Pennsylvania) regardless of what schools I had on my list," Jefferson said. "People are going to say what sells or appeals to a certain crowd."
On the flip side, Jefferson stated he did read some good points of view once in a while on Twitter or Facebook that got him thinking, but the factors that eventually pointed him to the Blue Devils were the ones generated and discussed with his inner circle.
"I wasn't sure within myself, much less anyone else know what I was going to do," Jefferson said. "At the end of the day, I made my decision with my family. Some schools really recruited me hard and stuck with me and I'm glad for that. It was a tough decision but I feel I made the right one in the end."
Farmer stands alone
When Garfield Heights (Ohio) star Tony Farmer hits the court next winter, head coach Sonny Johnson is expecting a man-child.
He made that prediction largely based on Farmer's stellar play with All-Ohio Red so far this spring. Farmer has improved significantly playing alongside Ohio State commit Marc Loving and highly touted prospects Nigel Hayes and Zach Denny. Farmer is averaging 8.2 points in nine contests at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball as All-Ohio Red is off to an 11-3 start atop Division C in the EYBL standings at press time.
Farmer, 6-foot-6 forward, is coming off a monster junior campaign in which he pumped in 20 points and grabbed 10 boards per contest to lead the Bulldogs to the district finals. On the AAU circuit, he's displayed an improved handle and increased accuracy on his pull-up jumper.
According to Johnson, Farmer holds more than 10 offers with Penn St., Xavier, Illinois and Pittsburg all in the running for his services. He is targeting a September commitment date.
Tweet of the week
“I will not lose, for even in defeat, theres (sic) a valuable lesson learned, so it evens up for me. I gtta (sic) get #9."
Nerlens Noel, the No. 1 ranked player in the ESPN 100, received a boost in Twitter followers (now more than 53k) after committing to play for Kentucky in mid-April. Noel has continued to endear himself to Big Blue Nation with a series of tweets ending in the phrase, “I gotta get #9" -- a reference to the Wildcats’ pursuit of a ninth national title this upcoming season. The tweets have been well received by UK fans, resulting in plenty of retweets and multiple replies from fans who believe Noel will have an Anthony Davis-type impact in 2012-13.