ROCKLIN - The Whitney High School varsity football team is preparing to kick off its season this Friday but the team took a hard hit over the weekend.
The Wildcats learned they will not be able to play in the playoffs this year because of multiple CIF infractions over the last two and a half years.
School officials were informed of the punishment handed down by the state's governing body of high school sports last Friday. The next day, Whitney administrators accepted the resignation of long-time area football coach Paul Doherty and assistant coach Marc Rubalcaba.
Doherty has been the head coach at Whitney, which is located in Rocklin, since 2015 after resigning from the same position at Sac High where he coached for six seasons.
The infractions, as provided by Diana Capra who serves as the communications director for the Rocklin Unified School District, are as follows:
Infraction no. 1 - violation of by-law 504.9 and 1903.3 use of bags/shields during spring practice
Infraction no. 2 - violation of by-law 504.9 and 1903.3 use of bags/shields during spring practice
Infraction no. 3 - violation of by-law190 team football camp that did not follow the rules and regulations set forth by the section
Infraction no. 4- violation of by-law1903.4-use of equipment during "conditioning/acclimation days" where the only football equipment allowed was helmets and footballs
Infraction no. 5 - violation of by-law 504.8 and 2003.- use of equipment during "dead-period"
Whitney will go through the appeals process to become postseason eligible, according to a statement issued by the school district.
The statement also explains that "Whitney football was placed on probation last fall for a CIF infraction; the fourth infraction by the coaching staff in less than two years. In July 2017, a fifth infraction occurred and was reported to the CIF office." The statement closes with "the school district and Whitney High School will continue to be committed to ensuring the school's athletic program maintain their strong traditions of integrity and excellence."
Whitney High School's vice principal, Justin Cutts, hosted a question and answer session with parents and players Sunday evening to address concerns about upcoming season.
In videos posted on social media by those in attendance, players stood on stage reading a letter stating they found it "unfair" they were not consulted about the decision to accept their coaches' resignation because the coaches "had such a huge impact on the football team that makes finishing the rest of the season seem incredulous."
The player reading the letter goes on to say Doherty and Rubalcaba were "in the process of creating a culture at Whitney that would unify our community", adding that "playoffs mean a lot to us but not as much as the coaches do."
There have been a number of tweets with the hashtag "#BringBackDoherty" showing support for the coach.
Whitney's varsity football team finished the last two seasons with 6-5 records and losses in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin section playoffs. The team finished with a 1-9 record in 2014, a year before Doherty took over the program. Before that season, the last time the Wildcats did not finish with a winning record was 2006
Doherty did not respond to multiple requests for comment. This story will be updated as it develops.
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