Statement Regarding Expectations at Playoff Contests

Statement Regarding Expectations at Playoff Contests

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Over the past several weeks there has been a disturbing trend exhibited across our state at school athletic contests and activities of fighting, bench-clearing brawls and threats of retaliatory actions that have disrupted, postponed and canceled games due to inappropriate behavior, both on the field and in the stands and parking lots. These actions have NO PLACE on our campuses and events. 

While the CIF applauds the actions and steps taken by our member schools to prevent a reoccurrence of such disappointing behavior, it is appropriate to remind all of our member schools of the “CIF Operating Principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor” and the their “Conditions of Membership” in the CIF as we begin the playoff season. 

Additionally, the CIF would like to remind our member schools of the criteria listed in our football handbook with respect to participating in and/or regional or state games: "Suitability to represent the State in a Bowl Championship with regards to Pursuing Victory with Honor and acceptable standards of sportsmanship."

The CIF reserves the right to deny a member school participation in Regional and State Championship games regardless of their status as qualifiers from their Sections if these important standards are not met. We have highlighted seven specific Principles below.


12. The CIF Operating Principles are the 16 Principles of the Pursuing Victory with Honorsm program as follows:

A. The essential elements of character building and ethics in CIF sports are embodied in the concept of sportsmanship and six (6) core principles: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship. The highest potential of sports is achieved when competition reflects these “six pillars of character”;

B. It’s the duty of school boards, superintendents, school administrators, parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver and school sports leadership (including coaches, athletic administrators, program directors and game officials) to promote sportsmanship and foster good character by teaching, enforcing, advocating and modeling these “six pillars of character”;

C. To promote sportsmanship and foster the development of good character, school sports programs must be conducted in a manner that enhances the academic, emotional, social, physical and ethical development of student-athletes and teaches them positive life skills that will help them become personally successful and socially responsible;

D. Participation in school sports programs is a privilege, not a right. To earn that privilege, student-athletes must abide by the rules and they must conduct themselves, on and off the field, as positive role models who exemplify good character;

E. School boards, superintendents, school administrators, parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver and school sports leadership shall establish standards for participation by adopting and enforcing codes of conduct for coaches, athletes, parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver and spectators;

I. School boards, superintendents, principals, school administrators and everyone involved at any level of governance in the CIF must maintain ultimate responsibility for the quality and integrity of CIF programs. Such individuals must assure that education and character development responsibilities are not compromised to achieve sports performance goals and that the academic, social, emotional, physical and ethical well-being of student-athletes is always placed above desires and pressures to win;

K. Everyone involved in competition including parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver, spectators, associated student body leaders, and all auxiliary groups have a duty to honor the traditions of the sport and to treat other participants with respect. Coaches have a special responsibility to model respectful behavior and the duty to demand that their student-athletes refrain from disrespectful conduct including verbal abuse of opponents and officials, profane or belligerent trash-talking, taunting and inappropriate celebrations;



C. Enforcement

(1) The Executive Director and/or Executive Committee or Section Commissioner and/or Section Board of Managers shall have power to suspend, to fine or otherwise penalize any member school for the violation of any CIF or Section rules and regulations or for just cause. The period of suspension or other penalty shall be left to the discretion of the CIF governing body that has jurisdiction of the matter where the penalty is not fixed.

(2) The Executive Director or Section Commissioner shall, at his/her discretion, determine whether information about any possible violation of the CIF or Section Constitution or Bylaws is sufficiently reliable to justify further investigation. The Executive Director or Section Commissioner shall also, at his/her discretion; determine whether to conduct any investigation of possible violations of the Constitution or Bylaws as well as the nature and extent of any investigation that may be conducted and the procedures to be used in any such investigation. Factors to be considered by the Executive Director or Section Commissioner in making these determinations may include, but are not limited to:

a. The seriousness of the alleged violation;

b. Any other factor the Executive Director or Section Commissioner may deem relevant in making these decisions.