Camden/Dreher should not be allowed in SCHL State Playoffs

Aaron Marks Host, The Drive 6-9 a.m. M-F Sports Radio 100.3 The Team

Aaron Marks
Host, The Drive
6-9 a.m. M-F
Sports Radio 100.3 The Team

For those of you that need a refresher or don’t know what happened between Camden and Dreher High Schools on October 17th, watch the video link courtesy of The State Newspaper.

Click to watch here

Yes. That actually happened a high school football game in our State.

If you thought the Maryland players dissing the Penn State players by not shaking their hands was disrespectful, those college kids have got nothing on our high school players in the Palmetto State.

In what can be best inspired by Clemson vs. South Carolina circa 2004, Camden v. Dreher a.k.a. Royal Rumble 2014, took place amidst the post game handshake between the two teams. In the grainy cell phone video we see a group of players begin to scuffle at midfield. It’s hard to tell who started it because so many players are involved. Then everybody joins in with various fights breaking out around the field.

This column is not a news report on what happened though. It’s an opinion on what was done next and how it properly should be handled.

After reviewing the facts and watching the tape, the SCHSL determined on October 30 that both teams would be banished from post-season participation. Good Call. This behavior should not be tolerated and that’s the strongest message that can be sent. Hurt the players involved by not allowing them to play the game they love and not allow their schools to have a shot at winning any championships.

That’s not the end of the story though. On November 3rd an appellate board, after hearing the case from teams of attorneys associated with each school, flipped on their decision and put the two schools back in the playoffs. Dreher is on North Myrtle Beach’s side of the bracket and if the two schools win their opening rounds games they will play at North Myrtle Beach in the 2nd round.

Talk about a grossly mishandled situation and poor decision at a variety of levels. The attorneys argued that in a case like this you can only suspend the individual players, not the entire team. That’s how they won. In the grainy cell phone video there are so many players involved you can’t pinpoint individual players that started the fiasco.

So the message we’re sending to these student athletes is instead of getting in a fight by yourself, make sure you get your team mates to join in making it more difficult to punish any one individual.

Let me begin to break down everything wrong with this situation and who I hold most accountable for letting this happen:

The first group I hold accountable is the coaching staff. They have undisciplined players who if they were properly coached and mentored never would have resorted to this behavior. They also must have asked or in some way were a part of this appeals process. The fact that the Coaches felt their teams deserved to be in the playoffs is the most pressing problem here.

“Everybody’s going to be real excited. It’s a neat thing”
-Camden Head Coach Jimmy Neal told The State Newspaper

The second group accountable is the Athletic Directors and Principals. Coaches are passionate and want the best for their teams. Coaches are emotional. That’s where AD’s come in. A good AD cannot let emotion get the best of them and must look at situations logically and from both sides. What message are we sending to all the other athletes at this school if we don’t punish the football team? What message are we sending to their younger siblings and worst yet, to the players who got in the fight and face no penalty for it? Let the Coaches be emotional but the Athletic Directors and Principles should have stopped the appeals process before it ever started.

And the final group of accountability is the SCHSL. How do you levy a stiff penalty on two schools, and then four days later let an appeals board overturn it? First off lets point out this is the most impressive and swiftest act of bureaucracy in the history of the legal system. Four days? Next time you need something done in the state of South Carolina get some attorneys and their favorite high school football team involved. The SCHSL had it right and should’ve stood their ground.

When Clemson and South Carolina got in a brawl, the schools self imposed bowl sanctions on themselves. Other High School teams have been banished from the post season for this sort of thing. The precedent has been set but because they found a good team of attorneys and a grainy cell phone video, the SCHSL went completely against everything they stand by in terms of sportsmanship and raising young men and women of character.

The players need to be punished for their actions but it’s now the people around those players that need some accountability. Teenage boys will get into fights. It’s how those around them handle it that matters.

Ultimately who got hurt the most from this entire ordeal? That would be Richland Northeast and Berea. Those are the two schools who believed they had made the playoffs this past Friday night, but have now been eliminated to accommodate these two teams.

Aaron Marks is the Host of The Drive, which airs daily 6-9 a.m. on Sports Radio 100.3 The Team and at www.teammyrtlebeach.com. Follow Aaron on Twitter @AMonFM

Source: http://www.grandstrandsportsreport.com/my-conversation-with-decorated-war-hero-turned-football-player-daniel-rodriguez/

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