WIAA to Archbishop Murphy: Learn it now kids, life is unfairSometimes I just shake my head at the sheer stupidity of decisions made by-the-powers-that-be in the world of professional and amateur athletics.
Do I think that it is ridiculous that the NBA Commissioner changed the rules to allow referee gambling after the Feds uncovered one of the league’s refs involved in a point-shaving scandal linked to the mafia? Absolutely.
Is it unthinkable that NCAA football doesn’t effectively punish players for helmet-to-helmet tackling, despite the fact that this technique results in numerous concussions, has caused the paralysis and even death of players? Unquestionably.
A hit similar to the spear-job that Oregon State safety Al Afalava laid on Husky quarterback Jake Locker (resulting in a scary scene where Locker lay immobilized on the field while his facemask was cut off with wire cutters. An ambulance drove on to the field, and Locker was strapped to a board and taken to the hospital) is technically illegal, but seldom called, and often encouraged by coaches. In the NFL, the same play warrants a 15-yard penalty, the immediate ejection of the player, and a fine sometimes as large as one game check (hundreds of thousands of dollars).
I could go on all day listing the other bones I have to pick (the BCS bowl system as opposed to a playoff, for one), but there’s only so much room for this column and at some point I need to arrive at the topic for this week’s installment. So here we are.
I am beside myself with anger at the ignorance, self-righteousness and holier-than-thou attitude exhibited by the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association’s decision to impose a forfeit on Archbishop Murphy’s 28-6 victory over Bellingham last week in the State 2A football playoffs. The forfeit immediately ended the number-two ranked Wildcats season, leaving the players angry, confused and unfulfilled. Oh, and top of that, the WIAA, in all of its benevolence, decided that the Wildcats would forfeit ALL of their games dating back to week two.
The reason for the parades of forfeits, you see, is the fact that ONE of Archbishop’s player’s medical examination had expired after week two of the season. Players are not allowed to play without an up-to-date physical I get that, and I completely agree with that. In general, this is a good policy to have. But, as humans we are granted minds, and inside our mind, (most of us) have the ability for cognitive thinking to take a look at the merits of a situation and to decide what the appropriate reaction might be. Unfortunately, the WIAA is a vegetable, no longer capable of reasoning.
“But dude,” you say, “Don’t you think you are being a little bit hard on this WIAA? They work for the kids!”
Point taken, but wait for the rest of it. You see, the out-of-date medical exam was not discovered by a team of WIAA super sleuths. The violation was self-reported earlier this week by the Archbishop Murphy coaching staff. And, they added the following: “We probably would’ve caught this, but that’s the week our football coach passed away. In addition, we were moving our offices at the same time, and we hope you can understand that it was a difficult time.” Or something similar.
That’s right. The same week that legendary coach Terry Ennis departed, the same week that the small private school moved its athletic offices, one piece of paperwork was overlooked.
What’s the proper penalty for this oversight? Does one take into consideration the extenuating circumstances? Or is better to take away the one avenue a team of teenagers has to express their emotion. Is it better to take away the season the Wildcats had dedicated to their Hall of Fame coach?
Seriously, I could go on for a while with some more rhetorical questions, but the point here is that this was a bush-league move by the WIAA. Unthinkable. Here’s to a new age where the adults making decisions for the betterment of kids actually have cognitive ability. I, for one, am not holding my breath.
Kevin Hulten writes the weekly Off the Record column and maintains the Off the Record blog at www.lakestevensjournal.com. Email Kevin at email@example.com.