Mission Viejo: The Case of the Doctored Football?

We won't know until an April meeting of the CIF Southern Section Executive Committee what actions may be taken from the outcome of an investigation into Mission Viejo High using a "doctored" football in the Div. II championship game.

The section office issued a press release early this week about some schools, specifically Mission Viejo, who did not use Spalding footballs as mandated by a sponsorship agreement. CIF-SS Council President Paul Breidt said: "We are very concerned about the actions of this coach at our championships."

That coach, Bob Johnson, has already met with Dr. Jim Staunton, the CIFSS Executive Commissioner, as well as with Mission Viejo principal Marilyn McDowell.

The possible infraction first came to light at the Feb. 12 Executive Committee meeting when Staunton reported to the committee that some schools were out of compliance with regard to a ball contract with Spalding that specified the exclusive use of the Spalding football throughout the playoffs. Staunton added in his report that one school was found to have "improperly" doctored another brand football and that school was Mission Viejo.

Johnson was one of several coaches at prominent schools in Southern California who were contacted for a story about the ball requirement and was critical of the Spalding ball. Many coaches feel it's too slippery.

Mission Viejo finished up a 14-0 season in the CIFSS Div. II finals with a 10-6 win over previously unbeaten Hart of Newhall.

We could see some sactions going against Johnson and the Diablos for not abiding by certain guidelines, but seeing something drastic like a championship being taken away for basically not agreeing to go along with a sponsorship would be a first for California and perhaps the nation.

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