Westminster High forfeit: A bad lesson

November 08, 2011

I am in complete disgust over the decision of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletics Association to deny Westminster High's football team's appeal of their forfeit versus Manchester Valley (High school football: Westminster wins game but loses forfeit appeal — and playoff spot," Nov. 5). By all accounts, Westminster went through all the proper channels and received permission to let a junior varsity player participate. The Carroll County athletics supervisor gave his approval but now seems to be suffering from amnesia and declines to comment.

The decision is not in the spirit of good sportsmanship and teaches the wrong lesson. The only reason the JV player was called up was in anticipation of a lopsided Westminster win and the lack of a backup quarterback. I can just imagine the moaning and crying to arise from Manchester Valley had Westminster played their starting quarterback all game. However, the real villain is not the MPSSAA but those at Manchester Valley who, in the ultimate display of poor sportsmanship, decided to protest a game which they lost by 50 points using a technicality to steal an undeserved victory. This essentially amounts to "reverse cheating." In the same manner that we should not be teaching our student-athletes to commit fouls when the referee is not looking or attempt to injure players to remove them from the contest, we should also not be teaching that we can take advantage of a questionable rule in order to gain a victory that could not be attained on the field.

When Manchester Valley first started playing I admit that I rooted for them because they were the new kids on the block. However, there is a correct way to try to establish the athletic program as a contender. Winters Mills is an example of the correct way and actually played Westminster pretty even when the two teams met.

This, unfortunately, is the wrong way. The final standings may indicate a Manchester Valley victory, but it does not in any way indicate that Manchester Valley is even in the same class as Westminster. I am saddened for Westminster High forfeit and elimination from state competition, but I am equally embarrassed by Manchester Valley's cowardly role in this travesty.

Ken Bauer, Westminster

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