The South Carolina High School League has apparently forgotten common sense in pursuing its mission of providing organized sports for students, especially those with learning disabilities.
At Monday’s court-ordered appeal concerning Goose Creek High School, the great majority of the members of the league’s executive committee apparently did not take into consideration the unusual circumstances whereby the football program salvaged the self-esteem of a troubled student who had been in multiple high schools over the last four years.
A clerical error that occurred at another high school four years ago caused the problem of determining eligibility.
When another transcript was obtained by Goose Creek administration, the error was reported to the league office within one and one-half hours. The team was disqualified last week. The season was forfeited for the whole team, which happened to be undefeated and ranked No. 12 in the nation. All of this occurred for “doing the right thing.”
Goose Creek gained no advantage by this player participating in 17 snaps — all when the Gators were ahead by at least 41 points.
An appeal for mercy by the school administration was voted down 12-2, so all the players on the team are paying for an inadvertent clerical error.
It seems that common sense has escaped the SCHSL executive committee. To give Goose Creek the “death penalty,” was unjustified.
I wonder how the committee could look those players in the eye. The punishment did not fit the so-called “crime.” Indeed, one member said that there was no “crime.”
How will the disabled student, through no fault of his own, feel now? How does the disability act play into this?
The embarrassment this has caused to this special needs student could be devastating. The football experience, according to his mother, Goose Creek faculty and administration, had increased his self-esteem and his ability to function in school and the community.
It appears to me that major changes need to be made in the governance of the South Carolina High School League. Getting common sense back into governance should be the first priority.
G. TRIPP JONES, M.D.
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