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CIF Vacates Coronado High Regional Championship Over Tortilla-Throwing Incident

Coronado High School is pictured in this photo from July 1, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Coronado High School is pictured in this photo from July 1, 2021.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) on Wednesday vacated Coronado High School boy’s basketball team’s division 4-A regional championship over a tortilla-throwing incident.

The incident happened June 19 in a regional championship game between Coronado High and Orange Glen High. At the conclusion of the game, which Orange Glen lost, some Coronado High fans and athletes were seen on video throwing tortillas at the mostly Latino Orange Glen team.

CIF Vacates Coronado High Regional Championship Over Tortilla-Throwing Incident
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

RELATED: Individual Comes Forward Claiming ‘I Brought The Tortillas To The Game’

The video was posted to social media, leading to wide condemnation and several prominent figures in the county calling for CIF to vacate the championship, including state Sen. Ben Hueso.

The Coronado High School boy’s basketball coach was fired following the incident. Coronado High alumnus Luke Serna came forward, admitting that he brought the tortillas to the game but said there was no ill intention. He defended the action saying it was part of a celebratory tradition at UC Santa Barbara, where he went to college.

RELATED: Coronado School Board Fires Basketball Coach Following Tortilla-Throwing Incident

After reviewing the video and other corroborating information, CIF State executive director Ron Nocetti decided to strip Coronado High of its regional championship as well as instituting several other sanctions.

“There is no doubt the act of throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latino team is unacceptable and warrants sanctions,” Nocetti said in a statement on Wednesday.

The sanctions against the school include:

  • Placing the boy’s basketball team on probation through the 2023-2024 school years.
  • Barring the team from the postseason at the sectional, regional, or state levels through 2022-2023 school years.
  • All other teams at Coronado High are barred from the postseason until coaches and athletes have completed racial and cultural sensitivity training, and the school administrators have completed game management training.

CIF also encouraged the two schools to develop a positive relationship, such as joint community service projects, and work together to provide the student athletes with restorative justice.
RELATED: Superintendent: Coronado High Won’t Forfeit Game For Tortilla Incident

Nocetti said the sanctions against Coronado High School are warranted, but real change will not come from the punishments alone.

“The path towards real change comes with the development of empathy for those who are on the receiving end of this type of degrading and demeaning behavior, no matter the proffered intent of that behavior,” he said.

Video: CIF Vacates Coronado High Regional Championship Over Tortilla-Throwing Incident