Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Adults Ruin Everything

Misguided? Reactive? Tunnel-visioned? What is the right adjective to describe the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association's recent enforcement of a zero tolerance policy?
Arch Bishop Murphy High School in Everett, Washington dominated their football season only to have it erased because a player was playing with an expired physical. The WIAA believes that this gave Arch Bishop an unfair advantage over its competition. The WIAA then booted Arch Bishop from its 2A Tournament.
Twice in my driving experience, I have been fined for driving my vehicle with expired registration. It was an oversight on my part, and I paid a few hundred dollars to make it right. The DMV didn't impound my car or revoke my driver's license. Instead, they punished me according to the severity of my infraction.
In this case, Arch Bishop got shafted, hosed, screwed, or worse. To punish those players, and that is what the WIAA has done, defeats the purpose of high school athletics. The WIAA's Goal 2.2.1 is meant to "Recognize that the primary responsibility of secondary schools is to educate youth;" The lesson learned by those students, a clerical mistake, not cheating, can take what you have earned and throw it all away. Goal 2.2.9 is meant to "Recognize excellence in performance as a result of training and practice in the competitive process;" Or to recognize mistakes in secretarial skills as a result of oversight and humanity in the clerical process.
One excuse you won't hear from Arch Bishop, mostly because it is beneath them, is the atmosphere surrounding their football season. Earlier this season Arch Bishop's Coach Terry Ennis passed away after a fight with cancer. I can't say I knew the man, but I definitely knew of him because I worked at his previous school. He was almost mythical in the area. The Seattle Time's Sideline Smitty, however, feels that the WIAA really screwed this one up.
In the end, the crux of the matter is that the WIAA simply failed to match the punishment with the infraction. In trying to set rules and regulations that prevent teams from cheating, they have failed to see that the mistake of an adult should not affect the accomplishment of the team. Don't get me wrong, we need rules to protect against unfair adavantages like recruiting and failing to maintain academic standards. But stripping a team of its wins because of a missed physical? it's down right mean.
The WIAA should feel terrible for ruining a football season for those boys. Once again, though, adults ruin what should be fun.


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