Dragovic goes to court Jan. 18 to fight CIF ineligibility ruling

Chronicle Staff

By Alex Leichenger

A Jan. 18 hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court will be Danilo Dragovic’s ’11 last chance to gain eligibility for the boys’ basketball season.

Dragovic is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent CIF from enforcing its decision to rule him ineligible, said his attorney, Keith Gregory. The injunction would also prevent CIF from punishing the school for allowing Dragovic to play.

Should Dragovic be awarded the injunction, he could still have to wait several days before being granted eligibility.

“I’m hopeful, but this is the last try—as they say, the last bite of the apple,” Gregory said. “I mean, I hope he gets this. I don’t know how confident I am, but we’re certainly going to do the best we can, so that we get this injunction so Danilo can play.”

Dragovic was close to taking the court for the Wolverines in the Desert Heat Classic tournament over winter break, but his filing for a Temporary Restraining Order against CIF’s ruling was denied.

Instead of hearing testimony, the decision by the judge will be based on “declaration” documents submitted by Dragovic, his current host family, his host family from last year at San Marcos High, Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas, San Marcos’ Athletic Director, and Gregory himself.

A preliminary injunction usually leads to a trial, but because the trial would almost certainly not occur until after the season, Gregory said that Dragovic would probably drop the case.

The primary argument in the declarations remains essentially the same as the case made in Dragovic’s CIF appeal, that he was not adequately informed about his complicated circumstances last year at San Marcos. Dragovic was encouraged to play JV basketball even though his visa status only would allow him to stay at the public school for one year, according to the argument.

“No one told him that if he played junior varsity basketball last year that he wouldn’t be able to play varsity basketball at whatever school he transferred to,” Gregory said.

Coming off first place finishes in the Pacifica Tournament and the Desert Heat Classic, the boys’ basketball team has five league games before Dragovic’s Jan. 18 court date. The regular season concludes Feb. 9, but playoffs could extend the schedule by over a month.

Dragovic was first ruled ineligible in October after transferring from San Marcos High, and he had a hearing Nov. 29 to appeal the decision.