It would seem administrators who run a high school athletic league would do everything in their power to honor the student-athletes.
I mean, administrators and student-athletes are all in the same boat, right? Different seats maybe, but same boat.
However, in the last few days the South Central Ohio League and the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference have reminded me these two entities — administrators and student-athletes — are not in the same boat. Maybe not even on the same body of water.
The Blanchester High School girls cross country team and the Washington Senior High School girls cross country team were both denied a trophy as their respective league champions, Blan in the SBC and Washington in the SCOL.
Was it something the girls did?
No. Both finished ahead of any other teams in their “league.” Fair and square.
Was it something the administrators did?
Yep. Maybe not any current administrators but somewhere along the line, yes administrators robbed both Blanchester and Washington of league championships.
Both leagues have placed a minimum on the number of schools with complete teams needed to contest a league championship. It’s a rule that has been in force prior to this season.
In the case of the SBC, three complete teams were needed Saturday for the league to award a National Division team trophy. BHS cross country coach Tony Blevins said there were five full teams as recently as a week ago. In cross country, five runners are needed to constitute a complete team.
On Saturday, the day of the race, only two schools — Blanchester and Bethel-Tate — were able to field full teams. Felicity-Franklin, Georgetown and Williamsburg all had runners, just not enough for a full team.
So when they show up for the race of the year, girls from both Blanchester and Bethel-Tate are sadly demoralized with the news they’ll have to compete with the American Division runners, the division that is made up of schools much larger than both Blan and Bethel.
The league is divided into two divisions based on student enrollment to be fair to student-athletes, but has in place an idiotic rule that is clearly not fair to student-athletes.
In last week’s SCOL meet held at Wilmington College, Washington was denied the league trophy because only half (four) of the league had complete teams. The league constitution states more than half must have full teams in order for the league to recognize a true league champion.
Regarding the SCOL, it turned out that one girl from one of the other schools was unable to make the championship meet and therefore her team went from five runners to four runners. Not a full team. No league championship.
ME: “So you are telling me that because Skippy has the sniffles, these girls can’t compete for a league championship?”
To both leagues, I ask why?
What is the reason behind such a rule?
Can’t be … take that back, it shouldn’t be. The leagues already have a team trophy and all other necessary expenditures in their budgets, whether there are enough full teams or not.
Is the league worried about a watered-down championship?
You know what, if one kid shows up at the league cross country meet and finishes the 3.1 mile course, then he or she is a league champion and his school gets the big trophy. Just the way I’d do it.
The rub here is administrators somewhere, sometime believed the best way to benefit student-athletes when other student-athletes fail is to penalize those student-athletes who did what they were supposed to do.
Now, that’s the true meaning of education.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.