BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A high school football coach’s vocal outrage over the playing conditions of a state championship game has sparked a movement for equality in high school athletics.
Jerald Pierucci, the head coach of Shafter High School’s football team, expressed his disappointment in the playing conditions of the championship game in Orland, California.
Pierucci’s comments were caught on 17 News cameras and quickly went viral, catching the attention of California State Senator Melissa Hurtado.
Hurtado has since proposed Senate Bill 486, which aims to provide an equal playing field for every team, regardless of their size or location. The bill comes in response to the current arrangement of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which only allows higher-division schools the opportunity to compete at neutral sites. This arrangement leaves smaller, rural schools at a disadvantage, with many having to play at home sites.
Pierucci and two of his players are taking their fight for equality to Sacramento, where they are pleading their case to a committee of lawmakers. They argue that the current system is fundamentally unjust and that all schools should have the opportunity to compete at a neutral site. Pierucci believes that this movement goes beyond party lines and has the potential to transform high school athletics in California.
“We’re here to make sure that our players have the best possible experience if they’re lucky enough to get to a state championship game,” Pierucci said.
The proposed bill seeks to break down the barriers that keep schools like Shafter at a disadvantage and level the playing field for all high school athletes in California. Pierucci hopes that this movement will provide a win for the “small guy” and create a fair and equal opportunity for all schools to compete at the highest level.
The proposal has since passed through the subcommittee on education hearing and is now moving forward to the next stage.