The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section has placed the entire Napa High School athletic program on probation through June of 2018 for committing a violation at a postseason event. Confirmation of the Level Two Misconduct violation was made by Will DeBoard, the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Assistant Commissioner, this week.
“We’re not going to elaborate on it, except that it has nothing to do with any sort of football situation that has obviously been in the headlines,” DeBoard said, referring to a hazing scandal involving the Napa High football program.
“Something happened at one of our postseason events, and that’s really all I can get into. It has nothing to do with like a coach or a player behaving badly.”
Napa High Principal Annie Petrie and Napa Valley Unified School District Athletic Director Jill Stewart reported in an email that a Napa High School parent, who they did not identify, brought a bottle of champagne onto the field for the postgame celebration, popped it open and sprayed it on the Napa High School girls team at the conclusion of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball championships on Friday, May 26 at the Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.
The Indians rolled to five straight wins and won their first CIF Sac-Joaquin softball title. Napa had back-to-back wins over Del Campo-Fair Oaks in the semifinals and finals, 5-4 and 9-8, and closed out the season with a 21-8-1 record.
The Sac-Joaquin Section imposed the sanction and said in a letter to Petrie, “The SJS Executive Committee was flabbergasted that a parent would think it was appropriate/acceptable to bring an alcoholic beverage to an educationally based athletic activity – an extension of school,” according to the email sent by Petrie and Stewart.
Petrie said, “We have tremendous respect for the Sac-Joaquin Section, the principles they stand for and the process they used in handling the situation.”
Bonnie Mott, a parent, acknowledged to the Register this week that she sprayed a bottle of champagne and sparkling cider following the game.
In an email sent Friday, Bonnie Mott wrote: “I sincerely apologize to Napa High coaches and athletes. I am a huge supporter of all athletics and am devastated that the Sac-Joaquin Section saw fit to put our entire athletics program on probation because I sprayed a bottle of champagne and sparkling cider. I am not a coach or an athlete and in my opinion, the punishment does not fit the crime for (Level 2) offense. It is disappointing that (administration) did not see fit to appeal this harsh decision. I guess times have changed and we all must walk a straight and narrow line.”
Petrie said: “The parent has taken responsibility and shared that … would never want to jeopardize the Napa High athletic program. Honesty, ownership and respect of code of conduct and bylaws is what we strive for in all of the members in our athletic community.”
Despite the sanction, Napa High teams are still eligible to win league titles and compete in the playoffs, DeBoard said.
Napa High is listed on the SJS webpage on the sanctions page. The penalty was imposed on May 26, though it was not announced publicly.
Other high schools from around the section are also listed on the page, for various infractions.
“If a school is on probation, what it basically means is … keep your nose clean,” said DeBoard. “It was something that happened once. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
“The fact that they’re on probation now doesn’t impact what they’re doing now at all. If there are no more violations, nothing will come of it. There is nothing punitive with this, as long as they don’t commit other by-law violations down the road.
“But if they commit some other violation out there, then things can add up and penalties could potentially become a little worse.”
Petrie said Napa High had a long-standing positive reputation with the Sac-Joaquin Section, “and we believe that maintaining a positive reputation depends on taking ownership of mistakes and growing from them. It is important to note that this violation was not due to any action of student-athletes or of our coaches so this serves as a reminder to our entire athletic community the importance of modeling Character First and in particular following the Code of Conduct set forth by California Interscholastic Federation. We chose to self-report this situation to model the highest level of integrity as an organization, and to open up an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with our parent community.”
Napa High will not be subjected to any forfeitures as a result of the penalty, said Stewart.
“No, as this was a violation of many laws, policies, rules and regulations that encompass interscholastic athletics, which is a direct extension of school. Therefore, they are not penalizing a specific sport,” said Stewart.
Stewart said it is a Level 2 violation for misconduct in the section’s constitution. The Sac-Joaquin’s penalty policy appears on its website, cifsjs.org.
Petrie said Napa High is committed to an education-based, competitive athletic program that builds character and leadership, while emphasizing the principles of good sportsmanship and ethical conduct at all times.
“We will continue to partner with our Athletic Booster Club, our parent representatives, our coaches, and our student-athletes to ensure that we are on mission in everything we do. This means maintaining our focus on integrity and building character first, while emphasizing the need for clear, consistent communication with our Napa High community at large,” said Petrie.