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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CYO?

"The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), through the vehicle of sports, provides youth with an opportunity to practice Christian attitudes and responsibilities and to become friends with other children throughout the diocese. CYO activities should be examples of the meaning of Christian sportsmanship." (CYO Code of Conduct)

What is St. Perpetua CYO Basketball?

St. Perpetua sponsors a competitive youth basketball program for school-aged boys and girls in Lafayette, California.  Our teams play in the West Diablo League in the Oakland Diocese.

When is the Registration period? How are the fees determined?

The 2014-2015 Registration period begins June 1st for the Early Bird rate.  The regular rate begins on August 1st.  Registration closes on September 1st.  All registration is conducted through Sportability.  The registration fees are determined by the cost of running the program and are not an arbitrary or set number. The majority of CYO expenses involve charges for gym time. Gym time in our area is very expensive, as we compete with other sports programs for the limited number of gyms available and suitable to the needs of our athletes.  The annual gym expense is also unpredictable and difficult to forecast.  The gyms are owned by the school districts, private organizations, and municipalities, and while they do their best to equitably serve the community, they do have pricing power.  Despite these factors, we believe the registration fees are in line with other sports leagues in our area.  The St. Perpetua Board will work with any player with a financial hardship in order to facilitate their participation in the program.

Does the Program or specific Divisions fill up?

Due to the tight supply of gym time and the desire to create evenly-numbered rosters, the St. Perpetua basketball Board reserves the right to cap the size of the Program overall, and/or specific age Divisions.  In some cases a waiting list will be established as the Board explores the possibility of increasing the number of teams in a Division.

What is the Refund Policy?

Refund requests will be accepted prior to September 15, less a 25% processing fee. After September 15, there will be no refunds. Refund requests should be directed the league’s Registrar (Steve Haggerty –

What are the eligibility requirement for St. Perpetua players?

Players must either:

1. Player must reside within the parish boundaries  (See CYO Eligibility link from front page), or

2. Attend St. Perpetua grade school, or

3. Attended CCD at the parish the previous school year

Why is West Diablo CYO not strictly for St. Perpetua school kids and those participating in the CCD program?

Many years ago the West Diablo CYO program made a decision to open up the participation to non-St. Perpetua kids in order to create a larger, broader and more competitive basketball program. Despite the challenge of limited gym space for practices and games, the expansion of the program has been very well recieved by the community, and our growing numbers attest to that.

Who administers St. Perpetua CYO basketball?

The CYO program at St. Perpetua is administered by the St. Perpetua CYO Board, which is comprised of volunteer parents who donate their time to provide wholesome athletic opportunities and experiences to young people in our parish.  The Board's responsibilites include the management of registration, finances, coaches and other volunteers, scheduling and gym contracting, uniforms, philanthropy, and upholding the Code of Conduct.  The Board also interfaces and collaborates with the leadership at St. Perpetua Church and School.  The Board is keenly focused on the interest, safety, and well-being of each child in the program.  A list of Board members can be found under the Advisory Board tab on this site.

Who do I contact for my CYO questions?

Please start with Joe Cannizzo, President.  Refer to the 'Contact Us' tab on this site.

Who Coaches CYO Basketball?

Parent volunteers make up the vast majority of CYO basketball coaches in our program. The St. Perpetua CYO Board is continuously looking for interested parents to coach. It is obviously helpful to have an understanding of basketball. However, a more important quality is the desire and enthusiasm to work with kids in an atmosphere that is consistent with the CYO mission statement. All coaches must satisfy certain requirements and obtain certification from the Oakland Diocese.

How does CYO basketball compare to LMYA, MVP or AAU basketball?

Generally, CYO basketball tends to be more competitive than LMYA, but less so than the elite teams/divisions of MVP, AAU or other 'travel' basketball programs. The size and reach of any basketball program is going to determine the depth of the talent, and those factors vary with each program and parish.  CYO players will compete against players of similar age and ability from other parishes throughout the greater East Bay, which is a relatively large geographic. For CYO basketball, there are typically two practices and one game per week, depending on age level.  While competitiveness is present, the CYO, and West Diablo League, stress Christian behavior from players, coaches and participants, so good sportsmanship is a focus.  The Code of Conduct is strictly enforced in all basketball activities.

When do tryouts begin? / How are teams selected?

In early September, the Vice President and the various Grade Coordinators (which will typically be Board members, and will not have a child in the grade they are coordinating) will schedule one to three (depending on the size of the division) evaluation days for their grade.  The intent of these evaluations is to group kids with like basketball ability and experience or interest level.  The evaluations will be conducted by the Grade Coordinators, current and former coaches, and  independent evaluators.  Due to the large number of tryout sessions (typically 2 sessions each for 13-14 groups in a one week period), there may be cases where fewer evaluators are present.  The evaluators will select an American team, which will play in the more competitve American Division of the West Diablo League.  The remaining players will be equally divided into teams and will compete in the National Division.  In cases where coordinators are able to conduct a draft to determine National teams, they will do so.  In all cases they will endeavour to create fair and balanced teams, which will promote healthy competition and the opportunity for each player to develop in basketball.  The St. Perpetua CYO Board will approve each roster before teams are finalized, in order to ensure a fair process.

Why does team selection create controversy every year?

Along with gym space availability, team formation is a source of anxiety and strife for all CYO basketball programs in our league.  West Diablo and other CYO leagues sponsor an American Division and National Division with the hope of creating competitve balance within the various leagues.  This system is by no means perfect, and we do not see the structure changing any time soon.  The task of choosing an American team after two short group evaluation sessions is challenging, to say the least.  There will no doubt be a few players in each age group who have a case to be on an American or National team.  The good news is, there have been many cases where players move up to American teams from National teams in their St. Perpetua basketball careers.  There are no pre-determined slots or 'automatic bids' for American teams.

In the majority of cases, there will be one American team in each Division.  If there is a very strong case for two American teams, the Grade Coordinator must secure approval from the Board in order to form an additional team.  While it makes sense to give more kids a chance to play on an American team, the Board carefully considers the impact on the National Division that will be left with fewer strong players.  The goal is to create a competitive and balanced American team, along with competitive and balanced National teams.

Regarding National team formation, in cases where there are enough players and coaches to conduct a draft, the evaluators will do so.  Evaluators will consider factors such as friends, carpools, hardships, and assistant coaches, but the goal of balanced teams will take priority.  In past years, friendships, carpools and coaches tend to work out. A winless or otherwise unsatisfying season could easily turn a child off from the sport of basketball, which would be a grave failure by our program.

When does the season start/end?

The season can officially start in very late September/October with optional pre-season tournaments. League play for boys and girls typically starts around the beginning of November.  The league games finish in early February with playoffs for 3rd grade in early February and most other playoffs fall on Presidents weekend.

How is the League schedule determined?

The game schedule and venues are determined by the West Diablo League. The league has over the years obtained the use of various gyms. However, there is limited space in the East Bay and, thus, it is sometimes required for teams to travel to locations such as Martinez to play games (even when they are playing a Moraga or Orinda team, or perhaps another St. Perpetua team.) You should note also that many of the gyms in the Lamorinda area are not available to CYO for a variety of reasons. For example, many of the school gyms are closed on weekends, a decision made by the school district and not St. Perpetua or West Diablo CYO League.  Due to the number of Divisions and teams in the league and the lack of available gyms, the game scheduling is a daunting task which will no doubt cause inconveniences for some.  Additionally, the number of teams in each Division and Parish varies year to year, which adds to the complexity of scheduling.

What's the deal with the non-league tournaments?

There are 3 tournaments available for CYO teams.  The tournaments are held by MVP Basketball at various gyms around the East Bay.  St. Perpetua will pay the entry fee for two of the three tournaments and participation is determined by the individual teams and coaches.  The MVP Pre-Season Tournament is held in mid-October.  The Turkey Shootout is held over Thanksgiving, and the Holiday Classic takes place over Christmas Break.  Coaches and teams will be notified of the tournament schedules in advance, and all tournaments are optional.  Coaches may also consult the Oakland Diocese CYO website for additional tournaments available throughout the Diocese.

I am a coach - what are my responsibilities?

Coaching CYO basketball is a highly rewarding experience for both the coach and the players.  Like anything else, what the coach puts into the job will determine what he or she and the players get out of it.  Coaching is a commitment to the players, their families, and the St. Perpetua CYO program.  The balance between competition and care must be struck, and that begins and ends with the coach.  Young players may not remember their win/loss record, but they will remember their experience with their teammates and coaches. 

CYO coaches and assistant coaches must attend the coaches certification meeting that is held in October each year.  The dates will be included on the CYO calendar when they are announced.

Addtionally, the Safe Environment Training must be completed:

Basketball coaching skills training, resources and support will be offered to coaches throughout the season.

Coaches and assistants are required to uphold the Code of Conduct, and set a great example for our players and opponents.  Each coach is an ambassador for the St. Perpetua program.

What are the lines of communication for players and parents?

Clear communication between coaches, players and parents is very important to our goal of serving the interests of the children in the St. Perpetua CYO program.  Coaches are encouraged to communicate relevant team and/or player issues to the Grade Coordinators and Board.  Players and parents who feel they cannot bring an issue to their coach are encouraged to contact the Grade Coordinator, who will elevate certain issues to the Board.  Serious issues must be communicated quickly to the Grade Coordinator or a Board member, and will be handled in confidence, with the player's interest of utmost importance.

Does the league supply basketballs?

At the beginning of the season coaches will receive two new game balls, one indoor ball and one outdoor ball, which the coaches can keep.  If a coach runs out of balls please let the Grade Coordinator know.  Coaches are asked to clearly label your basketballs upon receipt.