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Cyclops: Football decision similar to criminal punishment
Oct 25, 2012 | 1287 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By BRYAN GRAY

Clipper Columnist

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.

My public relations company is called Shades of Gray Communications. Some may think the name reveals my willingness to see nuances in issues rather than taking rigid black and white positions. And they would be correct.

Oh, there are some concepts on which I have straightforward definitive stands. (Utah liquor laws damage the economy and actually encourage alcohol abuse; real estate values and job creation would increase if we sensibly charged sales tax for online purchases; the growing gap between the rich and the poor is a major threat to our country; Cuba is no longer a threat to America, so we should open up travel and trade between the two countries; the U.S. shouldn’t get involved in costly foreign wars without taxing Americans to pay for them.)

But most issues are not so easy. An example this past week is the controversy allowing East High to participate in the State 4-A football playoffs even though the school admittedly had ineligible players on the team.

Since other schools had received the “death penalty” for similar conduct (with one even having to give back a championship), it’s easy to argue that East was given a pass by the Utah High School Association Activities Association (UHSAA).

The so-called “slap on the hand” included erasing a handful of victories, a school fine, a coaching suspension, and a stern admonition never to do it again. Still, the team is among the state’s most powerful and will be one of the favorites to win this year’s 4-A championship.

But for all those who claim schools breaking the rules should be similarly punished, consider that we don’t do that in our criminal justice system. 

Punishments vary because of circumstances. Not all robbers, burglars, and murderers get the identical sentence Р nor should they.

The same goes in the East High case. The UHSAA appears to say that East’s indiscretion was more of a paperwork problem rather than a clandestine attempt to skirt the rules and take unfair advantage. The athletic director didn’t understand the complexity of rules (and has since resigned). Furthermore, the athletes involved were not a major cog in East’s victories; a report claimed that only one was a consistent starter.

Some coaches and parents are upset by the inconsistency of the punishment. If Timpview High was forced to forfeit all of its games, shouldn’t East be held to the same standard?

It’s an appealing argument. But since I don’t know all the details (and you probably don’t either), I’m not going to march on the UHSAA offices and demand that East’s head be delivered on a platter. 

In general, students should not be punished for the sins of their fathers Р or those of a clueless athletic director.

However, I hope East doesn’t win the 4-A championship. Losing in the playoffs would quiet much of the controversy, and we can move on to more important things Р like which singer will win “The Voice” or whether Taylor Swift will marry a Kennedy.

Taylor Swift will marry a Kennedy.

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