Our View: Playoff fever, catch it, while CIF takes gate

Our View
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Tonight three local football teams take their communities’ pride onto the field during the second round of the playoffs. At LeFebvre Stadium in Auburn, Placer hosts Oakdale in a rematch of a playoff game from two years ago. The games are fun, exciting and the entire community should wear green and gold and come out to support Joey Montoya’s Hillmen. The only questionable aspect of the playoff games is where the money goes. Common sense says that both the home team Hillmen and visiting Oakdale should split the lion’s share of the gate. At $9 per adult, that is a very expensive high school sporting event for faithful fans during tough economic times. What many do not know, however, is that Placer and Oakdale will receive at most a minute portion of the gate. Instead, that money goes to the California Interscholastic Federation Sac-Joaquin section for overhead and bureaucracy. Auburn Journal reporter Gus Thomson reveals in an article on Page A1 in today’s edition that CIF Commissioner Pete Saco “earns” $134,000-plus annually, not including benefits. He has at least one assistant that is paid $90,000 a year. Excuse us, but aren’t the coaches, players, parents and teachers who volunteer their time to chaperone the game the ones who are doing the real work? Starting teachers at Placer earn almost $100,000 per year less than Saco. And they have Placer students’ best interests at heart and work with the kids in the classroom every day. Does anyone remember the Dalton Dyer fiasco? Two years ago Pete Saco and the CIF ruled that Placer’s lone African American player, a star athlete who grew up in Auburn, was ineligible because proper paperwork was not filed prior to the season. When Placer protested, it fell on deaf ears. Only after Placer parents took the issue to court did a judge rule that Saco and the CIF were wrong, and that the Hillmen did indeed earn a right to compete in the playoffs. The fact that nearby Colfax High players had to have their bus recalled while en route to a playoff game, because of the CIF’s mistake, adds further insult to the injury. And two years later, where is the apology? Where is the admission, the good sportsmanlike conduct from Saco, in which he apologizes to Placer fans, Coach Montoya and Dyer for his poor judgment? Yes, it is going to be a lot of fun tonight, and we will gladly support our local teams — the Hillmen, Colfax Falcons and Del Oro Golden Eagles. For most of us, it’s not the amount of the gate fee, but where the money goes that is objectionable. But when we pay that $9 gate fee, and see too many empty seats while hearing from friends and neighbors who won’t be attending because of the steep price, it will be with a bitter taste in our mouths for the Sac-Joaquin Section officials. So far, they have done little but make life tougher for Placer and its fans. Go Hillmen. Go Falcons. Go Golden Eagles. And thanks but no thanks to the Sac-Joaquin section bureaucrats who are running for the end zone with our money.