The California Interscholastic Federation commissioners have added an agenda item to their meeting next week to discuss a potential response to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), according to The Los Angeles Times.
In the last few weeks, running back T.J. Pledger from Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) and defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles from Calabasas have announced transfers to IMG.
“We are aware of the situation, as it relates to student-athletes from member schools within our section being contacted by IMG Academy,” Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said in a statement to the Times. “Also, this is not just a CIF Southern Section issue, it is something we are experiencing state-wide. Therefore, this situation is on the agenda for next week’s CIF Commissioner’smeeting in order to discuss it. More information should be forthcoming after that meeting.”
A spokesman for IMG Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
IMG is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association but has chosen not compete for state championships. The academy is not allowed to recruit within Florida, but is not prohibited from recruiting from outside the state, according to the FHSAA. IMG has players from numerous states and many countries on its athletic teams.
IMG finished the 2016 football season at 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in the final Super 25.
California will not be the first state to make a statement on IMG. Efforts have been made in Texas and Georgia as well. The head of the Texas High School Coaches Association criticized IMG and urged Texas schools not to schedule the Ascenders last spring; in the fall, a coach called out IMG for allegedly trying to recruit one of its players. The GHSA adopted a bylaw that was intended to prevent schools from playing IMG in football; IMG asked the GHSA to remove the bylaw change saying it was based on an incorrect premise.
According to the Times, Chaminade Athletic Director Todd Borowski emailed a letter to Florida officials complaining, “IMG called TJ a few weeks ago and was trying to get him and a few other players in the area to go there. I don’t know your rules there, but out here that would be a HUGE violation.”