Commentary: Punish Coaches, Not Kids

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 26, 2007

I wonder what the coaches from Stockton’s Franklin High School thought would happen?

Suddenly, two years ago, new kids, all transfers, all with exceptional speed and size and most with Samoan last names started showing up on team rosters. Only after a principal from a high school in American Samoa called to complain, did local league officials begin to investigate.

Here’s what they learned. Parents were flown from American Samoa to Stockton and put up at local hotels. The parents signed their kids up for school using phony utility bills with local addresses and then flew back to Samoa. The kids stayed to play football and bunked rent free with coaches or relatives of coaches.

The league cited 54 recruitment violations involving 10 students and hit Franklin with the toughest sanctions ever handed down locally. The school had to forfeit all its games for the past two years (that doesn’t bother me), and will be banned from post season play for the next five seasons.

Wait - now, that’s wrong!

Why should kids who had nothing to do with this scandal be punished for violations committed by adults? Don’t punish the kids. Punish the coaches who are responsible for this mess. Why not ban them from play?


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.