Burbank High Boys Water Polo Forfeits Season

Forfeits result in Bulldogs missing postseason play after reaching the CIF final a year ago.

(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

In the pool, the Burbank High boys’ water polo team captured the regular season and Pacific League tournament titles.
But the Bulldogs were not selected to participate in the CIF Southern Section playoffs when the pairings were released over the weekend as Burbank has forfeited all regular season games.
In a letter sent out to staff on Friday, Burbank High Principal Julie Markussen stated that based on the findings of the CIF Southern Section, some of its players, who transferred to the school this year, are deemed ineligible.
The letter said “Some of our players will be found ineligible to play this year due to an issue of self-disclosed pre-enrollment contact with a coach at Burbank High.”
School officials and members of the coaching staff said they could not offer comment on the matter due to student information privacy laws.
The school’s letter went on to say “Burbank High School and the Burbank Unified School District are confident that no coaches, administrators, athletic directors, officials or staff members made errors during the transfer process.”
CIF Southern Section Assistant Commissioner Thom Simmons also declined comment and referred all matters related to the situation back to the school.
The CIF Southern Section web site, which posts the names of transfer athletes on its web site, shows that two Burbank players were under review as of Aug. 19 and a third player on Sept. 8.
All three players are also part of the Olympic Reserves Water Polo Club 16-and-under ‘black’ team roster, which is posted on the club’s web site.  Just four players on the Burbank varsity team this season are not listed online as being part of the ORWP 16-and-under ‘black’ club team.
The ORWP 16-and-under ‘black’ team has just five players who do not play for Burbank High’s varsity team. Had Burbank not forfeited the season, it would have had its second consecutive league title. In 2021 the Bulldogs reached the CIF Southern Section Division 5 final, losing to Carpinteria, 12-9.

In the letter released by the school, Burbank High says it will work with the CIF to provide workshops on the importance of full disclosure on official transfer documents.
With Burbank High not going to the CIF playoffs, Burroughs High moved up to fourth in the league standings and will participate in postseason play as a result.
Burroughs opens the CIF playoffs Tuesday in a first round Division 3 match against Flintridge Prep. The match will be played at Pasadena Poly High.

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