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Chicago Daily Herald
I try not to make sports the focal part of my column very often, but something happened last week here locally that I simply cannot ignore.
The Illinois High School Association, in its infinite wisdom, declared the Pinckneyville High School volleyball team ineligible for postseason competition last week. Executive Director Craig Anderson made his decision based on the fact that the Panthers inadvertently played one more match than the state allows (36 as opposed to 35). Therefore, Anderson said the Panthers had an unfair competitive advantage over the other schools.
And not only did PCHS lose out on competing in the postseason, but it had to forfeit its River to River Mississippi Division co-championship.
I'm sorry, but I think the punishment far outweighs the crime here. Clerical errors happen. The Panthers made a mistake. They miscalculated the number of matches they played.
This was a PCHS team that went 28-8 and had at least a shot at qualifying for state.
Shouldn't you look at intent here? Do you really think Pinckneyville would intentionally play an extra match to try to gain an edge in the postseason? What edge would that be? How does playing 36 matches instead of 35 make a difference?
If anything, it would likely wear the players down more and make them more susceptible to losing.
Pinckneyville school officials appealed Anderson's ruling, but the IHSA board upheld his decision.
Bully for you, guys. You ought to be proud. You made an example of the Panthers.
How about the girls on the team who worked their tails off in putting together one of the better records in school history? What did they do wrong? What lesson were they taught here? I would say the lesson they learned is that adults have a tendency to make a mess of things.
To be quite frank, Anderson and the IHSA board should be ashamed of themselves. There are far more appropriate punishments that could have been meted out for what I believe to be a minor infraction. Surrendering a tournament title, for example, could have been an option. Preventing them from participating in one or two tournaments next school year could have been an option. Even take the conference title away if you must, but to prevent the team from competing for a state title is downright ruthless and unconscionable.
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