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Sanctions against Franklin upheld

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Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 10:00 pm

Case closed, with an emphatic thump.

On Wednesday, a Stockton judge denied the Stockton Unified School District's request to halt sanctions against Franklin High School for recruiting football players from American Samoa, chiding school officials in the process.

Shortly after the judge's decision, Franklin football coach Tom Verner announced his resignation, effective immediately.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Lesley Holland decided in favor of the Sac-Joaquin Section and its commissioner, Pete Saco, who ruled three of Franklin's football players ineligible and imposed a five-year playoff ban on the program for recruiting violations.

Despite Saco's ruling, SUSD allowed the three players to compete against Tracy last Friday. As a result, the Sac-Joaquin Section board of managers voted unanimously on Tuesday to shut down the football program entirely through the 2009-10 season. The board also barred Franklin's winter and spring sports programs from playoff competition.

"SUSD has shown an appalling and reckless disregard for the interests of Franklin's other current players as well as the entire Franklin community," Holland wrote in his 10-page ruling. "The architects of this disaster are coaches and administrators at Franklin High School and Stockton Unified School District."

SUSD superintendent Jack McLaughlin says the district will now appeal to the state's California Interscholastic Federation.

"We're disappointed that (the hearing) didn't support our efforts in defending the students," McLaughlin said. "We're going to follow the appeal process that's laid out immediately."

Holland wrote in his ruling that

SUSD's failure to go through the CIF's appeals process initially was "fatal" to SUSD's motion.

Saco had little to say about the ruling.

"The judge's decision speaks for itself," he said.

After Wednesday's hearing, Verner stood outside the San Joaquin County Courthouse and told reporters he'd "resign in a heartbeat" if it meant the sanctions against Franklin would be lifted. Regardless of whether the sanctions are eventually lifted, Verner announced his resignation just hours later, ending his 14-year tenure as head coach.

"I'm extremely disappointed," Verner told the News-Sentinel. "I went to the school and had some tremendous kids - and I don't mean athletically - just wonderful kids.

With the Franklin High School football program shut down for the remainder of the season, the Lodi High School football team is without an opponent for its final week.
The Flames and Yellowjackets were supposed to play on Nov. 9 in a regular-season finale, but alternatives could be forthcoming.
Lodi athletic director Gary Knackstedt has already arranged a contest against Linden for the freshman team, but games for the frosh-soph and varsity squads are still up in the air. Knackstedt heard that Pitman High of Turlock had an open date that week and he hopes to hear something today.
"There's a very good chance we'll have a game," Lodi coach Todd Dillon said.
- News-Sentinel staff.

"We got rid of a lot of the racial tension at the school through football. I think we did some very constructive things."

Verner's decision should appease Larie, a grandmother of a Franklin cheerleader who declined to give her last name, who held up a sign that read: "Verner leave. Let the kids play."

"He did illegal things, and now the kids are suffering," said Larie. "The kids are the victims. If he can't follow the rules, he needs to go. I know he's put money into the school, but now he's hurting the school."

Many Franklin supporters attended the hearing, including a large gathering of football players - many of whom still backed their coach.

"I don't blame Verner," said Jerrit Ybarra, a junior defensive lineman for Franklin. "He's been there for everything. He's like a father figure."

When asked if they'd play football for rival schools Edison, Chavez or Stagg next year - an option created by the board of managers to allow student-athletes to continue football while their own program is shut down - several players said, "Never."

While the section board banned all spring and winter sports teams at Franklin from the playoffs, that sanction could be lifted if SUSD shows it will comply with section bylaws. The district has until Dec. 15 to present a plan to the section office, which would be ruled upon at a January board meeting.

"Our plan is to follow all the bylaws," McLaughlin said. "Of course, we feel we've followed all the bylaws, but we'll have to have some discussion on that."

As for Verner, McLaughlin said the coach apologized for any problems he may have caused the district.

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  • posted at 5:45 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2007.


    The comment "case closed with an emphathic thump" reminds me of the statement "mission accomplished". Today's Sacramento Bee is finally allowing the other side to speak. "Seumanutafa said he came to Stockton in early January because his parents were seeking treatment for his mother's cancer and because they have relatives in the area." I don't know why the people of this community are so jealous of Verner and why they feel it's justified in ruining a young boys life. But finally the other side of this story is coming out.

  • posted at 7:14 am on Thu, Nov 8, 2007.


    DanielH: Verner is going to put up the money for this league and his team to play? The other teams would be make up of kids that couldn't make grades right?

  • posted at 2:29 pm on Wed, Nov 7, 2007.


    Again Daniel you are right I am living in the now. And as of now Verner is still gone.

  • posted at 10:56 am on Tue, Nov 6, 2007.


    Daniel, please answer my question....was the SUSD Superintendent in Texas arranging for Franklin football games? Yes or No!

  • posted at 6:02 am on Tue, Nov 6, 2007.


    2 Daniel- Your CIF obsession is serious grounds for OCD..some meds may help!! You and your people just want a place to cheat and recruit...go for it!!

  • posted at 3:11 am on Tue, Nov 6, 2007.


    Observer: You believe that "Dropout Factory" journalism, don't you? When you read news, do you stop and ask yourself what you believe, or do you just copy the newspaper without question?

  • posted at 3:09 am on Tue, Nov 6, 2007.


    fball fan: The fact that Verner is able to establish a successful football program, in lieu of the CIF, shows that the CIF does not have a monopoly on high school sports, and we don't need them.

  • posted at 2:08 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2007.


    Daniel, are you telling me the SUSD Supt. of Schools was in Texas making arrangements for Franklin football? If that is true he should be fired immediately. After the article about "Dropout Factories" he has a lot more important issues than high school football.

  • posted at 3:40 am on Sat, Nov 3, 2007.


    Daniel, Verner can take his Samoans, his past players, his future players, anyone, wherever he wants to...just the fact that he's gone is justice.. He's talking about revenge? What kind of person is this? Bottom line.. the cheater is gone.. let him go to a private school.. who cares?? There is more important things in life than football.. it's really not that serious. I would never have my son play for him or move my son to a school just for a football program. Things are getting ridiculous.

  • posted at 9:13 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    Do you folks remember when principal Luhn overruled the superintendent, who was in Texas? The suptd was making arrangements for football.

  • posted at 9:12 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    Who was laughing at me about Franklin setting-up another league? I would have liked it to be true, and I would have done volunteer work. However, Verner has already made arrangements to play outside schools, out-of-state; and, his players will have quite a bit of exposure to the scouts.

  • posted at 9:10 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    moreno: None of the SUSD schools are going to get any of Franklin's juniors, and not any of the Samoans that move into the district area. They are going to go to a private school where they can play football for Verner.

  • posted at 9:09 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    SportsNut: Obviously, you do not live within the Franklin school area.

  • posted at 9:07 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    SportsNut: You don't show any knowledge of the fact that the school board members are elected officials. If you want the Record to appoint new school board officials, you will have to ask them to campaign against the school board.

  • posted at 9:04 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    Coach T: "personwithopinion" has got it going on. I'm serious as a heart attack, and I know what I'm talking about. Wake up.

  • posted at 5:05 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    To Tooo bad. I'm the real Too Bad You have to be 2bad2. Verner is obviously a generous man and done a lot of good for Franklin High and brought a lot of pride to their community. When looking at the big picture, that should not be forgotten. Hopefully SUSD realizes they made a huge blunder and will work with the CIF to lessen the punishment. Make no mistake, SUSD must find a way themselves to ensure that the students and athletes not involved will have the opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports. (notice the scholastic part of that)

  • posted at 12:06 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2007.


    Daniel: no need to worry about my self esteem but I am curious about the individuals who are taking you seriously. Either you are getting a kick out of yanking their chains or you are intellectually dishonest. Good day sir!

  • posted at 6:00 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Oh .. and the reason I'm a "Not So Native Lodian" in the first place is .. because 10 years ago SUSD schools sent me fleeing to Lodi in search of a quality education for my kids, to a school district where english is the primary language used to teach (at least in South Lodi Schools). So none of this incompetence suprises me.

  • posted at 5:58 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Here is a thought .. the people of Stockton should start a RECALL drive of all the SUSD board members, kick them out of office, and replace them with a special election. That would send the message that would-be politico's (who start their trek towards a political life on school boards) won't be allowed to operate as these clowns have operated.

  • posted at 5:56 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    I have a GREAT IDEA! Franklin should re-hire Verner, send the Samoan's back home, create their own league with legal high school players, recruit some pop warner teams to play in their new league, and then perhaps they can win a championship without breaking the rules!

  • posted at 5:40 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    danielHN says on recordnet.com: Judge Holland could have destroyed his career for not recusing himself. This is a serious allegation against him. Yes! Yesterday's ruling should be appealed on these grounds.

  • posted at 5:31 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    cont..Also to the person who said I've "never been in charge of anything" I'm self-employed (quite successfully, 29 years) been on several committees that have raised large sums of money. We use the money to give two college scholarships per year. I'm on that board too. AND my name is COGITO, not cognito. So it looks like your reasoning skills are matched only by your reading skills.

  • posted at 5:19 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    I have no problem with more administrative heads rolling here. Start with the superintendent, then move on to the board. As for the person who called me a "typical liberal", thanks for cracking up my family. I've been a registered Republican for 30+ years. My empathy for the Franklin athletes stems from my Christianity, not my politics. These kids only crime was listening to, and respecting those in authority. What a terrible trait.

  • posted at 5:07 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    I don't get it, the man gives his time and money to help kids, his old school, and his community, and all we can do is knock him. Typical Lodi.

  • posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    As for Saco and the CIF, I predict there will be a change in eligibility rules in transfer rules in that the state will adopt a rule closer to what the CIF Sac Joaquin Section initially had - something like a 30 day wait period (probably 30 to 45 day) which is more reasonable than the 1 year wait. Cooler heads will prevail, SUSD will come to their senses, realize the impact, mostly bad, towards public view of SUSD and the moral obligation to abide by rules and to challenge those rules in a more responsible manner.

  • posted at 3:14 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    the snivelers also fail to understand that if the section CIF board fails to clean its own house assertively they would place the athletic programs and athletes of all 181 other schools in the section at risk as well possibly placing themselves in positions of civil liability...... hands slaps for this level of defiance by the coach and district would only encourage others statewide to follow suit......

  • posted at 3:08 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    what the snivelers about poor lil franklin fail to see is that the heavy sanctions are not merely for the 54 violations but for stonewalling by the district... allowing verner to smear seco in spite of overwhelming evidence about verner s guilt, continuing to dress, and then play the players, and the school board's defiance of the CIF by voting to have the players play, and the school board failing to even try to appeal through the CIF appeals process and going straight to court instead.......

  • posted at 3:00 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    j lawrence endicott: Superintendent Jack McLaughlin is going to be your nightmare, because he takes care of his kids.

  • posted at 2:59 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Chuck: Apparently you missed me, but you didn't have anything intelligent to say to me while I was talking to you.

  • posted at 2:58 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    HaHa: Not very wise to gloat. You are living in the "now."

  • posted at 2:53 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    According to that other newspaper a couple miles south, the headline is that Martin is now on paid leave. I suggest extra security in case he comes back with an attitude!

  • posted at 2:49 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    MICSTER: You are starting to realize that Bear Creek and Lodi HS seniors are denied an opportunity to show the college scouts how they can perform when they are playing the best team in San Joaquin Valley. This is a severe denial of career opportunity for these seniors. Your post is wrong, however, because you still stuck with the allegation that the players were illegally recruited. They were not.

  • posted at 2:46 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Resignation Was The Right Thing To Do!: Your post was at 2:10 PM. Vernor retired at about 10:00 AM.

  • posted at 2:45 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Bloggers who are gloating: Let it be known that there will be a brief time lapse between now and when we get Saco. Saco can stay in office and enjoy his power, and what little money he has, for a few more days, while we at Franklin take care of our kids. They are the priority. Once we know they are safe and secure, stand by. You can expect to see us again, and you will realize that you have never known us before. You won the first battle. Stand-by.

  • posted at 2:40 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Refrigman: Sooooooo unintelligent and uninformed to compare Vernor to McFall. Don't you know that Vernor is the person who first notified the district attorney of insider crime in San Joaquin County? This is the notification that alerted the DA to McFall and Dunn's crime? This is how we thank Vernor.

  • posted at 2:38 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    You can Verner for recruiting kids outside the district. And now you let the kids be recruited by other schools. Will they draw straws to see who gets which player?

  • posted at 2:11 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    On the Record blog I have pleaded with SUSD not to spend one more minute or one more dollar on this matter. Verner is gone, Martin & McLaughlin need to go, the Board needs to apologize to Franklin, SUSD and the CIF. They should appoint a Board member (not Silva) to immediately enter negotiations with the CIF. Their first priority should be to get these kids back on the field of play at their home school.

  • posted at 1:57 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Wow! Verner resigns from coaching the football team! Wait a minute . . . They don't have a football team anymore. What did he resign from than? Sounds like an exercise in futility to me. A purely cosmetic move.

  • posted at 11:04 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    This give Lodi High a chance to find another soft opponent and put another cosmetic "win" in the win column!

  • posted at 10:33 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    This whole thing started because of illegal players.Now they shut down the football program ,so players have to play at different schools.Isn't that what this whole mess is about.They didn't fix anything.The coach is gone,let the players that belong to Franklin play,and the one's that don't can not.

  • posted at 10:20 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.



  • posted at 9:10 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    But a few more resignation/firings are in order before the sports program can be re-instated with any sense of honesty!

  • posted at 8:22 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    The smug look on Verner's face reminds me of Monte McFall. Verner strikes me as another deluded individual who beleives that the rules do not apply.

  • posted at 7:52 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    ...But the administrators who rubber stamped this are still in place, and they need to pay. Unfortunately, the kids will pay for them. It ain't right, but that is the way it is.

  • posted at 7:42 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    I guess justice has prevailed. I think it's unfortunate the students are going to get the brunt of this mess. Verner ego may get dinged, but that's it. No monetary effect for him, which is too bad. Along with others, I can't help but wonder where our know-it-all, magnificent mind and Perry Mason is. Where are you Daniel? Tell us how Verner has been wronged.

  • posted at 7:07 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Still no Daniel?
    I fear he has thrown himself froma window ledge all right. A first floor window ledge!!! Where is the master contrarian commentor?

  • posted at 7:05 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Cogito,Daniel now what? More excuses

  • posted at 6:58 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    LNS: You wrote, "Case closed, with an emphatic thump." It's not over yet. As you recall, some evidence was suppressed, and our communities are not going to know what was the evidence. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty, and its consequences. The information will definitely be admitted into court down in Samoa, where Saco is being sued.

  • posted at 6:56 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Cogito: I think SUSD should deny Vernor's resignation, and play football anyway, next year, outside the league.

  • posted at 6:55 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Fball ban: Ditto. Also, I see your spirit of competition is to reduce the standards down to your level.

  • posted at 6:51 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Coach T: I hope that your self-esteem is high enough to have a purpose in life without my response.

  • posted at 6:18 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Superintendent Jack McLaughlin, its time to shut up, go away, and fall on your sword. Appealing to CIF will only prolong your misery. You and your employees were dead rotten wrong. You know it and they knew it. Do the right thing and crawl in a hole.

  • posted at 5:44 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Yeah, we are waiting Daniel. Or are you going to change your blog name!! Seems like you were mislead and that you weren't too much behing the scenes. Good Job CIF (Saco) for creating an even playing field. We have faith it will all work out!!

  • posted at 4:49 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Cogito, I believe you are mistaken. What Mr. Saco wants is for Franklin High School and the SUSD to follow the rules. What needs to happen now is for SUSD to prepare their response and submit it within the proper time frame. Something they should have done months ago but were to arrogant and ignorant to do.

  • posted at 4:32 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    If Verner is a father figure, he sure did not teach the players to follow rules. Good thing he is gone. Now someone needs to get football back for 2008. Those kids need that. Some kids only go to school for sports and this may be their only chance to become educated as grades are required to play.

  • posted at 4:31 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Typical liberal,,one sorry makes all better,,I'm sure youve never been in charge of anything.

  • posted at 4:28 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    It is about time Verner is gone. He has always been the problem. How about reinstating football for the school, with no playoffs. That way the kids only suffer a little. What about the cheerleaders? They suffer also.

    SUSD get it together.

  • posted at 3:39 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    O.K. Saco, you got what you wanted and Verners gone. The right thing to do now is to reinstate the football program next year, ban them from post-season to penalize them for 1 year. Remove the sanctions from all other sports. Don't deny the students a very important part of their education. Don't steal away the few years kids have to play high school sports. Be the bigger person. Anyone who doesn't think that is fair has a black hole where their heart should be.

  • posted at 3:27 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Too little too late! The Stockton School Board, the Superintendant, the District Athletic Director and the Principal all need to be fired. If these people had fired the Coach, then they might have been able to keep their own jobs. All of these "leaders" are VERY poor role models for the children that they are supposed to be teaching.

  • posted at 3:08 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Everyone, from Franklin High to SUSD, who consented to Verner's "tactics" should also quit if they have any decency left in them. Afterwards, I hope the kids get their playing privileges back.

  • posted at 3:06 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    "the coach apologized for any problems he may have caused the district." He may have caused...wake up Verner...you have been an unbelievable terrible example with your behavior "you may have shown"

  • posted at 2:51 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    If the football program was shut down until 2010 sounds more like Verner was canned. Why have a coach with no football team?

  • posted at 2:50 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Verner's resignation was about 2 weeks too late, the devistation left is huge, And SUSD, do you think the current board is going to get re-elected.........NO WAY. Nice quote for McLaughlin "we will follow the bylaws" well what you followed incorrectly made this a even bigger mess. Good Job, can't wait to see what you do next (SUSD). Create your own league..of inept administrators

  • posted at 2:42 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Daniel: we're waiting for your explanation now.

  • posted at 2:26 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2007.


    Well Mr. Verner it seems as if rules do apply even if you have a lot of money. Justice served.



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