Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ethics Item: Quitters Never Win?

Time for a little ethics debate:

I'm guessing most of you saw this story about the 0-4 Michigan h.s. team whose season was cancelled -- they hadn't won a game, or even scored a point. Administrators feared for the kids' safety.

What do you think of the decision:

*Safety first or quitting?

*Which side shows more sportsmanship?

Here's my take: The school and county are within their rights to cancel the competition with the other schools in the district, but I put it absolutely back onto them to find a way for these kids to compete.

For example, they could look around the state (or even the region) for other weak schools who can't compete with the "big boys," then let them play a modified season. In college, this is called "Division 1-AA," "Division 2" and "Division 3."

The point is this: I'm all for the safety of the kids, but taking away their sport is wrong and it's on the administrators to make it right.

-- D.S.

31 comments:

Tim said...

This is bogus. How do you think the kids feel about this? I wonder if they asked them first. If the kids dont want to play against the bigger teams, fine, but in that case, I'm all for Shanoff's idea. There has to be some way to keep them on the field.

Richard said...

When I was in high school, our football team lost every game for 4 years and in 3 of those years, it didn't score a point. This happened to be the school that produced Carolina MLB Dan Morgan. Anyways, if those players had been told that their season was getting cancelled, they probobly would have rioted. I'm all for the players' safety, but this school needs to consider the message it's sending to their students..."When the going gets tough, quit."

Bryan said...

That's not always possible, schools don't have a lot of money. And if the football team is THAT bad then this ones sports department is probally flat broke. It would be expensive to have to travel all across the state/states to find the weaker teams.

Tell them to pick up ballet, the pansies.

rafael said...

Safety first. Hard to make judgement without actually looking at the team though. Still, safety first.

As for finding other games...nah. One fall without football will not kill them. THey can do intramurals in a year.

Isiah Thomas said...

quality not quantity.

Bobman said...

This is bogus. Unsafe? It's football, it's inherently dangerous, but how can the team be THAT outmatched physically that they're risking injury?

What a joke of a decision. Furthering the wussification of America, now kids who actually WANT to play sports recreationally arne't even ALLOWED to.

John said...

That is a bunch of bull. When I was in high school, I played football. In my three years of playing are team went a whole big 1-26. They never cancelled our season, nor would we have wanted that. What the school did was drop to a lower class, and then when they were still getting beat that bad, they dropped another class. This level they could compete at, and since then the school has gotten bigger (It's a small catholic high school) and they have gotten the athletes to move up in class and be competitive again. What they did was absolutely the worst thing. What are this kids going to take from this. If you lose you should pack it in and quit? Someone should take the school officials out back and slap some sense into them!

TBender said...

Most states have a classification system based on enrollments. That is their version of divisions (not much different than the NCAA), and it seems to work well, as the higher the classification the bigger the players.

Witnessed two years of 1-17, including a game that had us down 14 within the first 45 seconds. Never once was physical safety an issue (ego safety--another story).

xcdannon said...

I think this is rediculous as well, but shouldn't this team face some sort of penalty because of the lost benefit to the teams that lose their games against them? I'm not sure how the playoff system works in Michigan, but in Ohio, playoff teams are determined by computers, so any win is important. Are these games being forfeited?

Just because a team is going to lose is not justification...I think that safety might not be the only thing on these administrators minds.

The heroin sheik said...

I went to a high school my freshman yr that was on a 12 game losing streak. We lost every game my freshman year and we sucked and we knew it. The worst part was we had a hall of fame qb helping the coaches plan practice(RIP OTTO) A few yrs later this same small military school in st pete was one of the powerhouses in the class A division because they implemented a fun and gun system. granted they regressed to the mean but just like the yankees and the braves in the 80's who sucked they turned it with solid management. Im sure the braves and the evil empire will have their downfall but that comes with the territory. Let the kids play because it is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.

Todd Ching said...

If Safety really is a concern, that's saying something. If money's the reason why not, that's a whole other story.

I mean if the team is just bad, that's one thing. But if kids are getting badly injured, I don't think any of us can honestly say that they should just "suck it up and deal," I'd whole heartedly disagree...

Like most of us, I guess we knew more of the facts... that being said, here's a fun story about my High School's football team.

My freshman year, I witnessed quite possibly the greatest HS football game ever. Sure, we lost by a touchdown, but it was only because Carson Palmer threw for 7 TDs against us, and DeShaun Foster ran for over 400 yds but only 6 TDs for us...

For the record I played tennis...

Todd Ching said...

By the way, where's Bill Simmons to come and make a joke about how Tagliabue should shut down the Raiders for the same reason?

-Todd (Boston)

ChrTh said...

One thing to keep in mind is that the COACH was one of the people who supported the decision to cancel. He's a first-year coach, granted, but my guess is that they're going to try to move to a different classification next year and didn't want a death on his hands this year

Matt said...

Damnit, Todd, you beat me to the Raiders joke...

Todd Ching said...

Sorry Matt (Fairfax), it was just too easy.

The Sportsvixen said...

Maybe I'm biased because I'm originally from Texas, but high school without football seems just wrong. If they are so bad, maybe it's not the kids, but the coach. In any case, winning or losing, I think if the kids are willing to put on the pads and get out there, then the pansy assed administrators should let them.

Jingoist said...

My freshman year of high school hockey, my team won 1 game and we were outscored probably around 7 to 1 every game.

But you bet your behind I still wanted to be out there.

Let the kids play.

rob (warwick)

Cody said...

I don't know anything about Michigan H.S. football so I don't even know if this is a possibility, but could they not drop down to 6-man football? I know, I don't care for 6-man either but at least the kids still get to play.

Isiah Thomas said...

"fat people are the chirping canaries in the mine shaft of freedom" -- Dennis Miller

Chris (CT) said...

this is so ridiculous...finish the season. i went to a small high school (180 kids) and we played schools about 9 times the size. we took some lumps, but so goes sports. two of my favorite memories from high school are when we beat our geographical rivals (about 9 times the size - regional school) to end a 36 losing streak in hoops on their court which in the end was the loss that kept them out of the state tourney. And then making the state baseball tournament for the first time since 1969. give the kids a chance to possibly accomplish what some think is impossible. my senior year our soccer team won the state title...anything can happen.

toivo99 said...

To answer the questions here:
A) There is no 6-man football in Michigan
B) Yes, the rest of Oscodas (apparently I cant use apostrophes right now) schedule is forfeited for playoff point purposes
C) They were struggling with numbers to the point where there were only 12 or 13 players left on the team
D) The coach is a former state title-winner in Michigan, he knows what he is doing
E) There may be some administrative BS going on here
F) The team cant just find games against smaller schools to play; all those teams have full schedules, too

There are forfeits all the time when teams just dont have the numbers.

SportsBastards Ron said...

The only appropriate comment I have is a quote from The Bad News Bears:

"Let them play."

Klassy said...

Sounds like a case of succesful coach not wanting a blemish on his resume.

Brendan Burke said...

In every state there is a team like this. One team in my HS league lost like 30 straight games. In 3 years, they were in the state finals. This is crap. I feel bad for these kids.

thistlewarrior said...

Ultimately, this should have put to a vote from the athletes themselves--they are the ones with the most at stake. As a former HS and college athlete myself (who played for a couple winless teams), it was always about more than W's and L's. It was about preparing for challenges, pushing yourself further than you thought you could, learning teamwork, and of course the cameraderie. I definitely think the school's decision is more damaging than getting a beatdown each game. This especially sucks for seniors who won't get another chance next year.

Eric Chase said...

Being winless or 1-26 is one thing. Risking your health against players that are physically superior is another. I don't think the school's decision came down to W's and L's. It's about some 5'6 150lb kid breaking his neck against a 6'2 280lb kid. Competition in high school is nothing compared to being physicall impaired for the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

toivo99, thanks for bringing some facts to the debate. I read about this earlier today and felt bad for the kids, but didn't realize just how short-manned the team was. Playing 12 or 13 players is borderline insanity.

I played just one year of high school football - 'cause I'm lazy - and was a two-way tackle and played on special teams. Still, I got the occasional play or two off. With the roster Oscoda had, they'd be very hard-pressed to do the same, especially considering the specialization required to play football.

At best, the coach could reduce the number of plays to three or four and hope to teach everyone how to play multiple positions for that limited number of plays...how long before an opposing coach figured out the weakness in the blocking scheme and sacked the qb into repeated concussions?

I really wish the seniors could play, and I certainly hope Oscoda can field a team next year, but for once I think I'd come down on the side of safety. (And I think kids should toss their bicycle helmets in the trash, climb monster oak trees with snacks and a good book, and play sandlot tackle. That's how we rolled in my misspent youth.)

Horatio said...

Just losing and not scoring is no reason to stop them from playing. If there division is too hard, why are they in such a divison in the 1st place.

Now, only having 12 players for a team is insane. Period. When I was in school there was school like this, they were allowed to let 8th graders play on the team. Yea they were still bad, but they had fun. Plus, thier coach would just call trick play after trick play. Made for a very entertaining game.

Let the kids play on other teams nearby so they can enjoy the game,

toivo99 said...

Horatio, no team would ever allow Oscodas players on the their team. First, a co-operative program requires approval from the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
Second, even if a team were to put Oscodas players on their own team, the 550ish enrollment would move them up one or two divisions. This is the way it has to be. It has happened in the Upper Peninsula many times.
While it would be nice to let these kids play football for the rest of the season, the options just arent there. It is sad, but this was the best solution.

YankeeTater12 said...

First, I don't know how many other people email Dan, but I know I did because I was appalled. And it's almost hypocritical of me, I was a late "bloomer" in life. As in I didn't grow about 4'9" until my senior year (don't worry I made up for it in college). So I wanted to play football. After one week of being a rag doll on Varsity I was bumped down to JV. And even then I was still being tossed around. They were afraid I'd get hurt, so they talked me into quitting and was still a part of the team as the team manager... and I do say I regret it. I would have been big enough and strong enough in Senior Year to enjoy a good run into the States. So to read about these kids getting forced to do the same thing. It'll never kill thier confidence or character - but it'll leave a mark. And for a first year coach to roll over like that - WTF? No body told UCF to pack it in after 0-11. Anyone who watched them v. Florida this year knew they were out of thier league. Texas is coming to UCF next year for more of the same? Why - someone's paying and someone's making money off it. All this does is show that money is more important heart and character. BTW: my bro-in-law plays for UCF, so I have 1-1/2 years before I'm allowed to go back to rooting for me team in my house.

oscowls said...

just to clear up the number of players left to compete. At the beginning of the season there were 22 players signed up, at the time of the cancellation there were 19 eligible players.