An unusual, yet understandable, call by Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow has cost unbeaten Memorial High starting middle linebacker Teryn Torosian for the rest of the season, but not four wins in which he contributed.
And this is sure to stir debate in the Valley, particularly in Kern County, where Stockdale was forced to forfeit wins in its first two games after it was learned star running back D.J. Martin shouldn't have played in them because of academic ineligibility.
But here's the difference: Stockdale was negligent; Memorial was not, at least not by the CIF manual.
Stockdale administers acknowledged their oversight by self-reporting Martin's ineligibility when they realized three weeks into the season he wasn't academically qualified after attending a continuation school in the spring.
Never miss a local story.
At Memorial, Crichlow reversed a transfer ruling he made regarding Torosian months ago and declared him ineligible before the team's 28-8 nonleague win over Mt. Whitney on Friday.
Torosian came from Clovis East, whose administrators signed off on the transfer in the summer, Crichlow says. But their failure to divulge a discipline issue -- a basic requirement in paperwork -- was only recently brought to the commissioner's attention. That led to the ruling switch, and after a 4-0 Memorial start.
"I had no clue," Crichlow says. "Had I known, he wouldn't have been eligible in the first place. And Memorial didn't have the correct [transfer] information up front, so it wouldn't have been fair at all to make them forfeit games."
But Crichlow also says the school probably should have done some due diligence before plugging Torosian into the middle of a defense and on a team expected to be in the section spotlight.
Torosian, like Martin, attended a continuation school in the spring because of a Clovis Unified District student-athlete code violation that also left him athletically ineligible until Jan. 12, 2012, Crichlow says.
That date is key to the issue because California Interscholastic Federation bylaw 210 prohibits athletic participation -- at any public or private school -- until the term of initial disciplinary action is met. And it doesn't matter if a transfer is involved in the interim.
This rule prevents a student-athlete from running away from a problem and immediately competing somewhere else.
But, as opposed to Martin, who's expected to regain his academic eligibility at Stockdale in two weeks, Torosian will not return this season.
His absence, combined with Friday's loss of 6-4, 260-pound nose tackle Jaylen Ruiz (sprained knee) for at least two weeks, removes two defensive impact players for the fourth-ranked Panthers (5-0) as they begin County/Metro Athletic Conference play at Sanger (2-3) Friday night.