November 11, 2007
Does the punishment fit the crime?
Fans of college sports are well acquainted with the generally poor reputation of the NCAA as an organization among the college fan base. Its ability to make decisions that defy logic and infuriate fans is at times the stuff of legend - see the BCS). Here at home, our high school version of the NCAA, the WIAA (the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) has pulled its own possible boner.
Gracing the front page of yesterday's Everett Herald and the top of yesterday's Seattle Times sports section was the news that the WIAA had wiped out the entire football season of smaller school powerhouse, Archbishop Murphy, in the middle of the playoffs in which the team was until late this week scheduled to compete. The infraction earning the harsh punishment was the expiration of one player's required physical during the season.
There's a host of issues with the penalty. First, the team's season was already marked by the passing of a truly legendary coach in Washington state high school football lore. Second, the fact it was an expired physical means the multi-sport athlete in question had already undergone such an exam (and if you've ever sat through such high school sport-related physicals you know how pro forma they can be to begin with). Third, the timing of it all serves only to mar this championship weekend for the high school fall sports season.
Not all of the points above are reasons to perhaps not drop the hammer in full on Archbishop Murphy, but they compile into a collection of circumstances that seem to make the penalty gratuitously excessive. Thankfully, the school and the team seem to be handling it with exceptional class, but it's still an awful situation.
Personally, I'm well acquainted with sometimes misapplied rules of the WIAA. Like this impressive student athlete, I went to King's High School but swam for another school (Meadowdale) since my own smaller school lacked a swim team. I was also a year-round competitive swimmer meaning athletes like me put in more time in the pool in the months before the high school season started than our high school season-only peers would put in by the time the season ended. Moreover, given the competitive differences, year-round, private club swimmers often practice very little with their high school teams because for a number of reasons they can't get as good of a workout in the routinely more crowded and less intense high school practices.
But, the WIAA said all athletes had to participate in ten high school team practices in order to be eligible for competition, no matter what the circumstances. In my case, that was ten practices of almost wasted time, after which I got in the car and drove to my club team practice to get some work in. That's a smaller example, but it speaks to the WIAA's inability to see past the letter of the rules into the reality of the student-athlete on the ground. That sure seems to be the case with Archbishop Murphy too.
So, my feelings are probably pretty clear. I'm curious, what are yours?
Posted by Eric Earling at November 11, 2007
09:39 AM | Email This
1. Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy!!!! This is what you get with Government Schools!! People who can't see beyond the end of their noses. I wonder who makes up these rules in the first place? I was never a school athlete, but I sympathize with the kids.
2. Just a stupid decision. So it is ok of someone to go out and commit robbery and they get to play for Garfield?
1. The violation was self-reported.
2. Their long time coach died of prostate cancer early in the season and the program was in disaray. The kids soldiered on in some very tough circumstances.
3. It is a minor violation that the kid didn't have a current physical certificate. I wonder what the punishment would be if the kid tested positive for steroids, shoot the entire team?
4. The school is parochial, not government. The association runs the atheltic competition is some quasi-official thing and like much of sports nowadays, when the adults get involved it gets messy and/or down right dangerous such as the assaults againsts players and other parents.
5. We seem to be a culture that is incapable of any common sense in schools. I read some where that a seven year old was suspended for hugging a couple of classmates.
6. The education monopoly has effected everything because education is so dumbed down and dumb these days.
I am not familar with the specific incident where an athlete committed robbery and was allowed by the association to play for Garfield. Do you have more facts to suport that comment that there was no action taken?
5. WIAA needs to have the "Athletic" A taken out of their name. The first 3 letters of the last "A" do the rest of the job.
It's nothing more than a politcal back slapping bunch of good ole boys regulating the sports side of schools while getting thier boots licked by the dairy commission and Tacoma sports complexes.
That crap about 10 practices is useless in this day of club sports. Some of these kids are training and playing year around.
How about a real look at the classroom performance of these jocks and jockettes? There's plenty of ways to get around the system there. But hey, with the coaches and AD looking to put a feather in their cap they'll coddle the athlete.
7. If the infraction was unknown by the parents, students and coaches, then the parents can easily ask for and should have been granted by the WIAA a hardship exemption for that period of time. That could have been granted as long as there wasn't a belief that they were trying to skirt the rules and if the stories are true it sounds like as soon as they found out they were in non-compliance they got it fixed. WIAA messed up on this one.
8. I also think that the WIAA has to notify the athlete in writing that they are non-eligible and there is time for an appeal process, sounds like all this didn't have time to happen.
9. The only thing more ridiculous than this ruling is WVH's attempt to blame plain such bureaucratic stupidity on the "education monopoly". Next someone will no doubt blame it on the unions or new math.
Having 5 state titles under my belt & later 3 NCAA all american titles, I would not have my kids do athletics in today's schools.
Too much BS.
Last couple of encounters with you, you had no cites, you had no info other than your own lame opinions. You know zip about education other than you support unions. You could give a rat's rear about whether some poor child of color gets an education if it interfers with one of your lame secular progressive theories. Remember the discussion about Fatso Kennedy sending his children to private school and being against school choice because he is in the pocket of the unions. You said something lame like it is his choice. Being called stupid by a secular progressive weasel like you is a badge of honor. Yes, it is the education monopoly. So, bite me.
1. Thanks for the info, I don't read the sports pages.
2. Archbishop Murphy did the right thing when they self-reported. The kids are also learning about ethics and doing the right thing even when it is costly.
3. I do not defend any person that is a criminal. Because of the presumption of innocence, they haven't been charged, but they should have been given a "time out." This society glorifies high school athletics and many atheletes know that because of the pressure for coaches to win, they can get away with all sorts of bad behavior. There is this horrible myth in my community that star athletes are exempt and they are headed for some pot of gold. The truth is sports is like a pyramid and few make it to the apex. Kids would be better off with a greater diversity of role models. Even those that do reach the apex will will fail, like Vick without the proper values. There are few Tony Dungies in the game, but without his values, many will fail.
I applaud the administration at Archbishop Murphy, these kids are learning life skills. Perhaps, the administration at many schools in the inner city need to find their courage, but I wonder how long they would last if they did.
13. Thanks really should go to It takes a Village to Convene a Grand Jury. Where did you come up with the moniker?
14. WIAA are a group of self-righteous morons. What this taught the kids is dishonesty is the best policy. Idiots.
I went to MM, and I'd like to think that I would have reacted back then the same way as I did now...with utter disgust at the way an otherwise honorable and hardworking year for an entire team got flushed because of a non-sport technicality. It's not as if Bellingham was beaten because of the inclusion of a questionable player. Not over aged, not out of area, not with police record, no performance enhancing drugs. A piece of paper with one digit off.
The name Inspector Javert comes to mind...or the Merchant of Venice, "When mercy seasons justice."
So now, Bellingham has little time to prepare, the kids miss time during the middle of the week, and the winner has less time to heal and prepare for the next round of games; so teams other than ABM suffer as well. If I'm not mistaken, the MM team was already up there and had taked rooms for the night, an additional waste of time, money, and emotions.
It seems to me that ABM has handled the situation with more class than the regulators. Hmmmm...where have we heard that before???
I can't see how this helps the situation. Even if Bellingham wins out, the kids won't be able to help feeling that the title is tainted.
I imagine that it'll be a long time before the adults are back in charge.
It takes a Village,
I get the connection. I am not for Hillary, even with the book, her policies will not help poor kids of color and because the unions own her lock, stock, and pantsuit, she will set education policy back generations. Hope the pubbies don't nominate some Ron Paul/David Duke type because a lot of folks will then vote for the crook.
This is too weird by a lot. There just has to be more to the story and jealousy towards that school. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the executioners weren't a whacked out liberal who hates religion or private schools. There just has to be more to the story.
Perhaps the president of the school is milquetoast. He should have screamed to high heaven.
We know how bad the NCAA is- aka Don James and the Huskies being penalized for the actions of Billie Jo and the success of the Husky program.
Now, we have these little two bit state association and conference going dailykos on us because of a two bit error. This organization has bigger problems with recruiting kids to one district or another.
My word, they weren't playing a game with a 21 year old playing high school sports, they weren't playing games with someone with a severe physical problem, they weren't playing games with a juvenile delinquent, and they, for sure, weren't playing with someone who was not meeting scholastic standards.
Having dealt with WIAA many times as an official, I can tell you that all of the investigations are complaint driven. Most of the time they are turned in by their own schools and a slap on the wrist occurs.
I feel this was over the top and to put it in context, remember the Chief Sealth girls basketball team. they were caught with recruiting violations and after several years of complaints from opposing teams finally gave them a penalty AFTER they had won 2 state titles.
Anecdotally, I can tell you of several athletes that should have been suspended for things like academics, criminal activities and breaing WIAA rules for drug abuse, but nothing happened because the coach, AD and principal looked the other way. In one case, the coach paid off the victim of a crime so his star athlete could get out of jail in time to play. My brother was the athlete and my father refused to bail him out so he would learn his lesson. Needless to say, he learned nothing and continued to lead a life of crime.
In other cases, I know of one school where a teacher and student were playing a game of 1-on-1 in the school gym during baseball season. A fan went into the gym to use the bathroom and after seeing them reported to the WIAA that there was illegal basketball practices and had the star player suspended for the next season.
Over the years, I have found the WIAA over reactive when it should not be and under reactive when the situation clearly demands action. They unfairly target private schools with heavy sanctions while letting public schools get away with as much as possible.
It's unfortunate for the kids at ABM that they have to learn this lesson in a harsh manner. In this case, the punishment clearly does not fit the crime.
20. Maybe Brian Bosworth could come up with a t-shirt idea for this situation.
Who can ever forget the NCAA shirt he wore on the sidelines? And the No BOZ shirt worn by hundreds of fans in the Denver stadium that were made by 44Boz inc.
Any fitting acronyms out there for WIAA?
22. I'm just glad to see an Archbishop's name in the headlines without connection to abortion politics or the dandling of altar boys.