Decision on Dragovic appeal expected Monday

By Alex Leichenger

A ruling on the appeal filed by boys’ basketball player Danilo Dragovic ’11 against CIF is expected to come next Monday at the latest. Dragovic had a hearing Nov. 29 after CIF ruled him ineligible for the second year in a row because he did not qualify for a hardship waiver.

Dragovic had no choice but to transfer to a private school from San Marcos High because his F-1 visa only allowed him to attend public school in the United States for one year, Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said.

Dragovic said that he did not learn of his visa status until the end of his first semester at San Marcos.

Dragovic would have been eligible to play this year if he had not played JV last year. He said that San Marcos’ athletic director cleared him to play JV basketball knowing that he would have to switch schools as a senior.

Barzdukas said that he expected CIF to make an exception for Dragovic because of such “unique circumstances,” including his lack of understanding of CIF rules coming from another country. Dragovic’s attorney, Keith Gregory, emphasized that point in the appeal hearing. Dragovic will most likely sue CIF in court if the ruling is not overturned, Gregory said.

“It is my senior year and my time has come,” Dragovic said. “I’ve worked hard, and I really love the game of basketball. I came to this school because of its very strong academics…That’s why I came to here from Serbia, because I wanted to get a better education. And basketball’s also one of my passions…I just want to play, and I’m just waiting for the approval.”

If the CIF ruling is upheld and Dragovic is forced to sit out the season, he cannot be held back for another year at Harvard-Westlake because he will have exhausted his eight semesters of high school eligibility by the end of this year, Barzdukas said.