Q&A: Southern Section’s Wigod offers ‘exit’ interview

Unless the Dodgers offer a coaching job, Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said Wednesday he has yet to make any plans for what his life will be like after he ends his 12-year reign on Aug. 1, 2023.

“Offers can be accepted,” he joked.

Wigod, a former baseball coach before entering administration, announced on August 2 that this would be his final year as commissioner of the CIF’s largest section.

In a 20-minute interview on Wednesday, he gave insights into his decision, spoke about the achievements of his office, his regrets and his hopes for the challenges of university sports. He is full of energy and has made it his goal to do everything in his final year to graduate with good grades.

Why did you decide to resign as Commissioner?

“This is my 40th year of training. I’ve had incredible opportunities to get involved with education-based athletes and high school sports for so long and felt like this was the right time. We weathered the pandemic and weathered the toughest times we faced. That would be a good time to hang it up.”

What do you think will be your greatest achievements as Commissioner?

“There were some things I’m very proud of, but it was a collaboration with the member schools, the Executive Committee and the staff. The competitive equity playoff model has made a big difference. Things like our CIF Home platform have revolutionized the way admins do their jobs. The commitment to online ticketing that we have made has made a huge difference. I think our financial situation was unbelievable. We were able to refund membership fees and waive dues for 2022-23. Our 100th anniversary was a big celebration. There is still more to do.”

Do you regret things you couldn’t get done?

“There are certainly regrets. The changing climate of trying to make a business out of high school athletics is having a huge impact on the transfer situation. I believe in the purity of high school athletics. I don’t like to see outside forces take some of the innocence that high school athletics should have.

Ron Nocetti, the CIF Executive Director, is putting a focus this fall on discussing what college sports are and aren’t about. Her job was to maintain the integrity of the high school sports experience. But is the genie finally out of the bottle in terms of transfers and focus on winning?

“If you look back in the archives, I wrote my first message as Commissioner in 2011 and it was on that very subject. We are the education based athletics environment. We are the only ones doing this, attempting to educate the entire student physically, emotionally and socially and providing the platform for life lessons that we believe derive from the high school track and field arena. Who we are not is a company that focuses solely on higher education and career opportunities. This percentage involved is a very small percentage. We believe that we are special and unique. However, there are outside forces that have found a market and found people willing to receive these types of services for what the students will be doing beyond their school years.”

How many times has someone been fined for undue influence?

“We had several hundred. Those that are released are those that affect programs, since the Southern Division Office’s power is to sanction programs. Many of these concerned personnel issues. The goal was that when cases are discovered, the culprits will be punished. We do not have direct authority to sanction, discipline or handle HR matters, but their managers do.”

“I will commit to you and everyone out there that we will do what we have always said. At the end of the regular season, we will formulate divisions based on power rankings.”

Do you have any recommendations for your future successor on how to prepare for the position?

“There is no manual to read, no step-by-step guide to becoming a commissioner. It’s something you must learn as you go. It’s a unique position. It’s something you have to put up with after you get used to it. You have to listen and learn and know the depth of the section and understand the big picture.”

Will you leave a note on your desk like presidents do for their successor?

“I definitely intend to leave a message, but it would be unfair to tell you.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-08-11/q-a-southern-section-commissioner-rob-wigod-exit-interview Q&A: Southern Section’s Wigod offers ‘exit’ interview

Emma Bowman

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