Baxter’s Blitz

Baxter: What if SCHSL rules help the cheaters?

scvarsity@sc.rr.comMarch 11, 2013 

Jim Baxter

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com Buy Photo

AN AMENDMENT to the SCHSL slogan could be: “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules … unless the rules are changed so that those who didn’t follow the rules still can be crowned.”

The administrators and athletics directors from member schools of the SCHSL held their annual conference this past weekend and approved two amendments dealing with how the SCHSL and executive committee handle rules infractions and penalties.

The first change will be the creation of an “appeals committee” that will hear from schools or students who are not satisfied with the executive committee’s decisions.

The second change deals with ineligible players. The new rule does not call for an automatic forfeiture of games in which the ineligible player participated. There now are four levels of violations: self-reported minor, non-reported minor, self-reported major, non-reported major. The punishments will be based on whether or not the use of the player gave the school a competitive advantage.

To summarize, cheaters who get caught and punished can appeal the punishment to a “higher authority.” If the higher authority feels there was no “competitive advantage” gained, case dismissed.

Two things concern me about these decisions.

First, the amendments came because the state government imposed its will upon the SCHSL.

Second, who gets to define “competitive advantage”? That is something that is relative to the school involved and its competition.

Realignment

The SCHSL took straw polls at the conference on several proposals for the upcoming realignment.

The three-class system (two divisions in each class) seemed to be the most popular among the 4A, 3A, and 2A members, while the Class A members voted almost unanimously to keep the system as it is.

The four-class system in place with two divisions in 4A, 2A, and A got a lot of support. The 3A coaches’ attempt to split to two divisions failed at their conference last year but has a lot of support now. So if the decision is to stay with four classifications, we could see 3A join the other classifications in splitting into two divisions.

The five-class proposal that the executive committee was set to vote on two months ago got very little support at this conference.

It doesn’t matter which proposal the SCHSL decides upon if the ridiculous points system that currently is in place is kept (allowing for 32 teams in each class to make the playoffs). In that case, the postseason and championships are devalued.

Crowning more than one champion in any classification diminishes from what a championship is supposed mean.

But, hey — at least they don’t have to play by the rules to get there.

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