Forcing Atholton to forfeit does not seem fair

Letter to the sports editor

August 18, 2011

Upon reading articles in the Baltimore Sun and the Howard County Times (Aug. 18, "Practice violation costs Atholton first game of 2011"), the thought occurred to me that nobody from Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association has commented on the situation.

This was one 7-on-7 football practice that was inadvertently held less than one week prior to the time when no violation would have occurred. Further, as far as the kids, families and coaches were aware of at the time, no violation had occurred.

Does the punishment really fit the crime? What precedent exists for such a harsh judgment? Why not just take away a practice or two or suspend the coach for a game or two?

The kids are and have been working their butts off and are truly the ones being punished despite not being the ones that committed the violation. It seems to me that the MPSSAA should answer these questions.

Further, there is no question in my mind that other schools throughout Howard County and the state have committed violations as well, either knowingly or unknowingly, they just don't self report. What lesson are we teaching our kids — that honesty and integrity results in the harshest possible punishment but keeping your mouths shut and not standing up to your mistakes results in benefit?

It just seems to me that these questions should be answered. The Atholton coaches are fantastic and exhibit nothing but integrity, honesty and real concern for their players. As a parent of two Atholton football players, I feel incredibly lucky to have coaches like these guys to entrust my kids to. It's a shame to have this hanging over what is a fantastic program as a whole.

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