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Surf and Rugby Club: Why They Cannot be School Teams

Surf+Club+Members+Senior+Nick+Tostado%2C+Senior+Chaz+Higgins%2C+Sophomore+Abrianna+Sebastiani%2C+Sophomore+Mikenzie+Learned%2C+Sophomore+Megan+Waldichuk%2C+and+Rugby+Club+Members+Senior+Jared+Stahl%2C+Junior+Troy+Feinstein%2C+and+Junior+Mathew+Lolly-Wilson+%28top+to+bottom%2C+left+to+right%29wonder+why+the+district+wont+support+official+Surf+and+Rugby+Teams.
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Surf and Rugby Club: Why They Cannot be School Teams

Surf Club Members Senior Nick Tostado, Senior Chaz Higgins, Sophomore Abrianna Sebastiani, Sophomore Mikenzie Learned, Sophomore Megan Waldichuk, and Rugby Club Members Senior Jared Stahl, Junior Troy Feinstein, and Junior Mathew Lolly-Wilson (top to bottom, left to right)wonder why the district wont support official Surf and Rugby Teams.

Surf Club Members Senior Nick Tostado, Senior Chaz Higgins, Sophomore Abrianna Sebastiani, Sophomore Mikenzie Learned, Sophomore Megan Waldichuk, and Rugby Club Members Senior Jared Stahl, Junior Troy Feinstein, and Junior Mathew Lolly-Wilson (top to bottom, left to right)wonder why the district wont support official Surf and Rugby Teams.

Helen Tadesse

Surf Club Members Senior Nick Tostado, Senior Chaz Higgins, Sophomore Abrianna Sebastiani, Sophomore Mikenzie Learned, Sophomore Megan Waldichuk, and Rugby Club Members Senior Jared Stahl, Junior Troy Feinstein, and Junior Mathew Lolly-Wilson (top to bottom, left to right)wonder why the district wont support official Surf and Rugby Teams.

Helen Tadesse

Helen Tadesse

Surf Club Members Senior Nick Tostado, Senior Chaz Higgins, Sophomore Abrianna Sebastiani, Sophomore Mikenzie Learned, Sophomore Megan Waldichuk, and Rugby Club Members Senior Jared Stahl, Junior Troy Feinstein, and Junior Mathew Lolly-Wilson (top to bottom, left to right)wonder why the district wont support official Surf and Rugby Teams.

Kayli Sandoval, News Editor

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   Numerous students across campus have wondered about and posed the question, “Why does UC High not have an official Surf or Rugby Team?” Currently, here at UC High, there are two clubs specific to those two sports. However, they’re not actually school teams and not officially affiliated with the school.

   Principal Jeff Olivero stated, “I’ve heard mixed information from the district regarding whether we can or we cannot [have a Surf or Rugby team].”

   He explained, about six years ago a student came back to school on a Monday and went to the nurse’s office. The kid was experiencing major headaches and when the nurse asked him how this could have occurred, he noted that he competed at a surf tournament over the weekend. The nurse explained the situation to Olivero and said, “We have to fill out an accident report because we had one of our students get hurt at a school competition.” Olivero then replied, “We don’t have a Surf Team.” The student and many others believed that UC High had a Surf Team, because they enter competitions as students attending UC High. Olivero explained, “We had a club and not a team.” The school filled the injury report which went over to risk management. Olivero said, “Risk management called me and said, ‘What are you doing offering surfing as a competition? We don’t have insurance and liability for students doing those kinds of activities.’”

   After hearing what risk management had to say, Olivero said that is when he had to speak to advisors to make sure certain sports were not affiliated with the school, because the district does not have insurance for them. “That’s been my stance over the years with rugby and surf and any of those extracurriculars like that, that aren’t district approved as a sport.”

   As of now, UC High has both an official Surf and an official Rugby Club. Clubs are very different from actual teams explained Olivero: “A club itself can talk about it, can look at videos about it, can share their excitement about it, but they can’t go out and compete as a group.” ASB and Rugby Club President Jared Stahl explained, “As a Rugby Club, we basically take in any kid who is interested in the game of rugby and we teach them what the game consists of, what happens, and we watch a few videos here and there but the main purpose of the club is to hold a team with SCYR [Southern California Youth Rugby], which covers the whole of Southern California for rugby.”

   According to the official Southern California Youth Rugby Website, “Our High School season aligns with the CIF Winter season and runs from December through February.  All teams must be based at a core school and have, at minimum, an ASB Rugby Club on campus.” The SCYR holds four Boys High School Divisions. The majority of UC High players are on a team called the UC Honey Badgers in the White Division. To compete in the White Division, one of the requirements is that there must be a minimum of 75 percent of players from a core school, meaning that 75 percent of the players on a team must come from one school. The core school for the UC Honey Badgers is UC High (socalyouthrugby.org).

   Stahl explained, “We have 75 percent of [students from UC High]. Then we have about 25 percent of other schools like Clairemont, Serra, and charter schools. Schools that don’t offer rugby club can play with us.”

   Another alternative for students who would like to participate in a sport that their own school does not offer is addressed in CIF Bylaw 303. According to the official CIF San Diego Section website, “A primary function of education based interscholastic athletics is to offer students an opportunity to participate. CIF Bylaw 303 provides a method where a high school that does NOT have an athletic program can join with a CIF member high school for athletic opportunities for students. However, there are several requirements, agreements between the schools and paperwork that must be completed each year and there are timelines that must be met.”

   Students can still take part in such sports but only in communities, clubs, or individually. Many students know that some schools outside of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) offer  Surf Teams, such as Carlsbad High from the Carlsbad School District. However, some schools inside SDUSD have listed Surf Teams on their official websites. As of February 2018, the only San Diego Unified School District high school to have a listed Coed Surf Team on their official website, under spring athletics, is Patrick Henry High. According to Patrick Henry High’s Official Website, they offer a Varsity Coed Surf Team and have been quite successful this year (phpatriots.net). According to the official Point Loma High Website, the school currently offers a Surf Physical Education class periods zero and one (pointlomahigh.com).

    UC High Surf Club Member Megan Waldichuk said, “If they [Patrick Henry] have a team, then we should too.”

   “I have heard some similar. That there are some schools that have  Surf Teams… and I have shied away from it because of what I know about what was told to me in terms of the liability. I don’t know if those principals know themselves about whether you can or cannot do it. I am calling about the question now to get an answer so it’s not frustrating to our students regarding ‘How come they get to?’ or ‘They’re able to!’ because I want us to be able to,” explained Olivero.

   The San Diego Unified School District Legal Office declined to “be a resource for students in interpreting and applying the various policies and procedures in the District.” The Legal Office stated, “We cannot advise students, parents, community members, etc. because they are not our clients.”

   Although students can look into playing for other schools or on Club Teams in their communities, as Stahl explained, it is not the same as representing your own school. “It sucks, because you see your friends over here making varsity basketball, varsity this and that and you’re considered a Club Team. These teams can get letterman’s jackets and we can’t. We can’t represent. We can’t be seen as an athlete on campus. We are just seen as a side club. So, it ticks us off a little bit, but then again, wherever you’re at, you’re gonna have fun. We have fun in club season; it is just not as grand as average school sports.”

     “I prefer to not publish achievements earned by a Surf Team or Rugby Team as the school is not to have a competitive team and are considered community teams.  Reading about their accolades can confuse parents making them believe we have a team and have authority and responsibility for these activities,” explained Olivero.

   Olivero said, “The reality is that people have been turning their backs on the question. If we raise the question, then they may tell whoever that they can’t do it anymore. So, they’re hesitant to shut that opportunity by asking the question. All I’m saying is, we have to protect our own liability if someone gets hurt.”

   “What I have always said is I need parents to go to the board of education and say, ‘We want to be able to do this, like the other school districts.’ But no one has been willing to press that issue, and so I’m more or less saying, let’s press the issue,” said Olivero.

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Surf and Rugby Club: Why They Cannot be School Teams