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This letter is to address the situation that arose over the past few weeks concerning the Carroll County High School freshman basketball team.
This class, though maybe not as talented as others, was a very hard-working and dedicated group of young men. Their season was not stellar, but, unlike their coach, they did not give up – no matter the score or circumstances.
But the situation that developed at the end of the season, namely the bringing up of the eighth-grade boys to take the place of the freshman team players, showed that unless everyone subscribes to the concept of fairness, dedication, and hard work, especially those adults in charge of the team, this isn’t a lesson in life but a fallacy.
From what I have been told by the parents of this area, this is the first time that the eighth-graders have been suited and played. It would have been one thing to have used them as substitute players to give the freshman team members a rest; but to replace the team that has worked together all year, and stuck together all year, win or lose, and give the eighth-graders the majority of the playing time, was a complete travesty. It would be similar to an adult having a project to which he or she has dedicated much time and effort being handed over to someone else at the last minute by a boss.
The coach should be ashamed of the example he set in order to try and win a few games. Comments like, “Quit whining to your parents about your playing time,” and “I’m only going to play the best of the best,” were cruel and degrading to these freshmen. He basically told them that they were not good enough, and there were others that could take their place. Maybe if he had taken time to coach the entire team he had, the outcome of the season would have been different.
But with the type of leadership he displayed, I doubt there would have been any difference. It seems that the eighth-graders made no difference in the end, for they did not win any games either.
In the Preface of the KHSAA Constitution, some of the declared values listed are:
1. The opportunity for participation for all student athletes who comply with adopted association regulations.
2. Appropriate leadership at all levels within the association.
3. The role of athletics in the education process.
4. Promotion and recognition of good sportsmanship, conduct and citizenship.
5. Quality of the total program of offerings by the association.
6. The highest level of integrity and ethics among all entities of the association.
7. Efficiency and professionalism within all levels of the association; and
8. Fairness and consistency as it relates to the application of rules.
It appears that quite a few of these values were trampled on and few were taught by the coaching staff; and quite a few by-laws were violated.
I hope the principal of CCHS addresses this issue before someone from the KHSAA has to.
The freshman basketball team started with 10 players. At the end of the eighth-grade season, they brought up seven more players to the freshman team.
At the last games at Trimble County, they had a total of 17 players. One of the freshman boys had to stand because there weren’t enough seats at the bench. He remained standing until the junior varsity coach told him to take the coach’s empty seat.
It has been a common practice to bring [eighth-graders] up and dress them, but never to take the place of the boys who were playing their regular season. One of the parents went to the superintendent and was told this was not happening. I was there, and I have good eyesight and hear very well. Eighty percent of the time was played by the eighth-graders.
This has caused hard feelings between players, friends and family. I just want others to understand it could be their child next year.
This coach left his freshman team behind and made a new one with eighth-grade boys and a few select freshman. The boys were told to stop whining and complaining to their parents about their playing time.
In the preface of the KHSAA some of these goals were listed: Promotion and recognition of good sportsmanship, conduct and citizenship; the highest of integrity and ethics among all entities of the association and fairness and constancy as it relates to the application of the rules.
These boys have no reason to hang their heads, they did not lose the last four games, they didn’t get to play. It is my opinion that the coach owes them a public apology.
The lesson learned is that dedication and hard work does not pay off unless everyone, including those teaching the lessons abide by the rules of fairness to all.
Martha Louise Beasley