• Parents Split on Tactics that Led to Drug Suspension

    by Eric Russell September 2015

    South Portland High School football players endured a marathon meeting Thursday, in lieu of practice, during which they were grilled one at a time about suspected drug use among team members. Some parents were upset about the tactic; others support the approach. A member of the South Portland High School football team was suspended from school Friday for what Superintendent Ken Kunin described as a hazing incident.

  • Players on National TV: Coach Ordered Hit on Referee

    by Jason Scott September 2015

    This morning on “Good Morning America,” Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, the high school football players who blindsided a referee during a game earlier this month, said they were following instructions from their coach.

  • Blog: No Dirty-Play Epidemic in High School Football

    by Jason Scott September 2015

    Earlier this week, we shared another story about a high school football player making another ugly play on the field.

    This time, the play was at least directed at an opponent, unlike the premeditated hit on a referee that made headlines earlier this month. There was also a less-publicized story about a player shoving a referee as a reaction to a call.

    So what’s going on? Is there a culture problem in football? Are coaches skipping the part where they instill values? Are players out of control? Is there something in the water?

    The likely answer: Probably not. Any of these might be a root cause for these incidents, or any random occurrence might have triggered them. The players involved in the hit on the referee alleged the ref had used racial slurs.

    Whatever the motivation, this sort of thing has been going on for a long time — just with less media attention.

    In today’s Internet culture, things can get noticed more quickly. The premeditated hit on the referee was just sensational enough to make us as observers perk up our ears. As new cases pop up that look and smell similar, we’re trying to connect the dots, looking for larger trends where perhaps none exist. 

    That’s not to say that we should do nothing to keep incidents like this from happening. We absolutely should.

    What we should not do is panic. We don’t have to turn into football Chicken Littles. The sky is not falling.

    For every instance of dirty play, the kind that grab headlines and leave us shaking our heads, there are many more examples of sportsmanship. Those things don’t get headlines, because the culture considers them boring.

    Football idealists might look at the dirty plays recently and question their worldview. If participation in athletics is supposed to instill young people with values, how could this be happening?

    That’s a question worth asking. We should look at some of the dirty play recently and double our efforts to teach sportsmanship to our young athletes. But let’s not freak out to the degree of questioning the value of sports participation in general.

    Don’t let a few outliers ruin your enjoyment of the game. 

  • HS Stadium Debut Draw Expected to Exceed Population

    by Beatriz Alvarado September 2015

    The wooden box seats on concrete slabs reserved for Bella Blanton’s family for more than 40 years were comfortable, she said. Kind of. The Freer High School English teacher’s football season passes granted her six years of front-row access to each of her children’s athletic competitions. Both her sons were Buckaroos — jersey Nos. 55 and 63 — and her daughter was a cheerleader.

  • School Lacking Varsity Team Getting New Turf, Lights

    by Dave Dahl September 2015

    Eden High School didn't have enough players to field a varsity football team this year, but the district's School Board has taken another step toward a $22.15 million capital project that includes an artificial turf field and lights for night games.

  • GoFundMe Account Set Up to Repair Damaged Field

    by Jerry Fitzpatrick and Elena Ferrarin September 2015

    After an outpouring of support, St. Edward High School in Elgin has set up a GoFundMe page to help deal with the aftermath of a landscaping accident that killed most of the grass on its football field. The Green Wave has already played one game on dead grass at Greg True Field, Sept. 4 against Chicago Clark. Coaches and administrators will decide late Thursday afternoon if they can play on it again this Friday, when the Wave is scheduled to host IC Catholic Prep.

  • High Schools to Control Division Setup in Realignment

    by Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel September 2015

    One of the themes to the conference realignment discussion Monday at the was the desire for local control in the matter. Well, there will be plenty of local control in the plan associate director Deb Hauser plans to present to the Board of Control Oct. 9. She provided details Wednesday in an email to the affected schools, placing 29 of the 45 schools into one league and leaving it up to those schools to determine what divisional alignment works for them.

  • Illinois HS Football Field Ruined by Weed-Killer Mix-Up

    by Dan Cahill September 2015

    No, this is not Soldier Field, and the Chicago Park District had nothing to do with it. Grass at the St. Edward High School football field in Elgin was accidentally destroyed due to a reported mixup between fertilizer and weed killer.

  • Prep Coach Serves One-Game Suspension, Resigns

    by Larry Rubama September 2015

    Pete Gale resigned as Great Bridge High School's football coach Tuesday, less than a week after he missed a game against Indian River because of a suspension.

  • WATCH: High School Football Player Rips Helmet from Opponent, Hits Him With It

    by Jason Scott September 2015

    Another instance of dirty play in high school football occurred in New Jersey last week.