Student Suspended After Fight: Now, Adults Join Fray Some Question Rule That Hurt Football Player


November 09, 1990|By PAT O'MALLEY

Man, have I got a bundle of "Q's and A's," sports fans. So, let's get rolling, and remember, if you want to respond or have a question without an answer of your own that I might use, just give me a call on the 24-hour Sportsline, 647-2499.

* Doesn't the county Board of Education need to take a look at its fighting rule, which results in students being suspended from school and extracurricular activities?

Should there be exceptions to the rule? Well, I think so, after learning of an interesting story involving a Glen Burnie football player last week.

Let me first give you the rule in county schools, under Reasons for Suspension and Expulsion, Section E: incidents of physical and/or verbal abuse; Section F: injury inflicted on another student or individual.

Last Friday before the crucial Class 4A Region IV Severna Park at Glen Burnie football game, one of the Gophers' starting defensive backs/wide receivers, junior Trae Gillis, was involved in an altercation with another student.

Gillis observed a schoolmate harassing a female student he knew, asked the guy to knock it off, but the student got physical. Gillis refused to fight back because he didn't want to get suspended and thus be ineligible that night to play in the Gophers' homecoming game against Severna Park.

But because of the altercation, Gillis was suspended and did not play Friday night as Glen Burnie lost a 31-26 heart-breaker.

In essence, the kid became a victim of the system and, as his mother, Terri, said, "He was at fault for getting involved, but what we're saying is don't get involved, stay out of it. Trae was only taking up for a girl and didn't fight back."

What Gillis did is what most any man would do and his teammates think enough of him and realize how he practiced self-control to avoid being suspended that each player had a little "T" on his helmet Friday night.

They knew how badly he wanted to be out there with them Friday night.

Gillis is expected to be back Friday against Old Mill.

The rule is basically a good rule, but exceptions need to be made.

Sometimes not only a kid gets unfairly punished but an entire team as well.

How many times do we hear how people see something wrong in action and refuse to get involved? Do you agree with me that it's a shame to have that kind of attitude, and that Trae Gillis showed guts and did the right thing even though it cost him?

* While there is some grumbling going on out there about Severna Park boys soccer coach Don Gregg because the Falcons lost to Broadneck in the 4A Region IV semis, isn't the truth of the matter that the guy did a great job without the luxury of a couple blue-chippers as he had in Sean Crawford and Matt Steele a year ago?

"It was significant that we won the county title without having great talent -- talent but not great talent," said one parent close to the team but who wished to remain anonymous. "Just consider what he has done over the last 16 years."

Gregg has won county and region titles eight times each, been a state finalist four times and was a state co-champ with Bowie back in 1983.

That's not to mention several of his proteges who have gone on to coach and such star graduates as Ron Eckels, who led Anne Arundel Community College to a fine season this fall.

Once you win, is it necessary to be in the state championship and win it every year?

But wouldn't Gregg do well to scrap the preseason togetherness weekend at Arlington Echo, which the guys find to be a real drag except for the canoe races?

* While we're on the subject of soccer, didn't the Annapolis boys soccer team make it obvious it wasn't going to the playoffs by posing for its team photo (team photo in uniform goes to the state for playoffs) in civvies in the printed Panther athletic program?

* Was the hiring of Teresa Ross (Georgia Tech football coach Bobby Ross' daughter) as girls basketball coach at Annapolis done to get her foot in the door to become the first female football coach in county history when Roy Brown gives it up?

* Didn't the local basketball officials of Board No. 23 think they were getting a break when Glen Burnie coach Terry Bogle didn't show up for this year's rules interpretation meeting, which the veteran Gopher mentor usually dominates with off-the-wall questions and "what ifs?"

Do the Board No. 23 zebras know that Gopher assistant coach Mike Rudd taped the proceedings for his boss, and that Bogle still is studying the film and already has his list of queries up to 50?

* Are the shoulder pads worn by Severna Park's junior running back John Jennings, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in eight games, the largest ever worn by a county back?

* Wasn't Severna Park head football coach Andy Borland the county's innovator of extensive weight lifting and training, something all schools now do to the benefit of their football players?

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