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We should learn from this

Posted: January 15, 2009 11:04 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Stan Delus, seen above coaching Canyon's girls basketball team, parted ways with the program Wednesday after it was discovered that there were two girls on his team who had falsified residency records.

 
Stan Delus was relieved of his duties as Canyon High girls basketball head coach Wednesday night, and the Cowboys had to forfeit all 11 wins for this season, because residency records for transfer players Vanessa Aguilar and Alexa Davison were falsified.

Aguilar transferred from Grant High and Davison transferred from Cleveland High before the 2008-09 school year.

According to Pete Getz, assistant principal at Canyon High, Delus picked up one of the players from the San Fernando Valley and took her to the other player’s house on occasion. A parent would then take the pair to Canyon.

Last month I heard rumblings of unethical activity within the Canyon High girls basketball program.

It was from multiple sources.

Afterward, I asked Delus about the situation and he adamantly denied there was any wrongdoing.

Delus’ resignation Wednesday spoke otherwise.

As journalists, we’re called to seek truth and report it. We’re charged with being objective, never distorting information, with developing relationships and protecting those relationships if needed.

If we can’t talk to trusted sources, we can’t do our jobs, which is passing on accurate information to our readers.

Over the years, we’ve had complaints from all local schools about this or that coach or coaches allegedly violating rules.

Sometimes, those allegations bordered on outrageous or were fueled by spite.

In phone conversations, Delus and I spoke about the issue of recruiting because I thought we had a solid relationship and he would honestly address the allegations.

He said there was no reason to ask about the issue because there was no issue.

Delus maintains there was no recruiting of Aguilar and Davison.

We’ve given some people, including Delus, the benefit of the doubt.

When I got the news about Delus, I wasn’t so much surprised as disappointed.

First at Delus for not coming forward with the truth about the residency falsification.

Then at myself for trusting him.

To his credit, Delus said Thursday night that he was wrong.

“I’ve got a lot of things to work on,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of good things and I’ve done some stupid things as a coach. I will do some soul searching. If I do anything, I will do it the right way.”

Delus admitted that he knew of the residency falsification, but the problem got away from him and instead of address it, he tried to ignore it.

Now the parents of Aguilar and Davison have to take much of the blame because these girls have to sit out a year. The parents knew what they were allowing to happen was wrong.

“It was an adult matter that was not handled right,” Delus said.

They’re not the only parents to do this, though.

Not by a long shot.

Going forward, Delus will move forward.

“We all have to learn from this situation,” he said. “You’ve got to do things better and the right way. I’m going to learn from it. I have a little one and I’m going to tell her do the right things and tell her about the mistakes I made.”

Delus says he may coach again.

As for us, we will be more aggressive investigating similar situations.

Let that not open the floodgates to complaints about coaches, though.

What it means is: We will be firm but fair.

And we will be more careful with trust.

Cary Osborne is The Signal’s sports editor. He can be reached at cosborne@the-signal.com. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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