The Texas University Interscholastic League has placed the McCamey Independent School District and its athletic director Michael Woodard on two-year probation following incidents earlier this month during a softball game Woodard was coaching.
As reported by ABC affiliate KMID in Midland, Texas, the UIL launched its investigation after a catcher playing for McCamey High School appeared to deliberately hit a batter in the head with a throw — not once, but twice — during a game against Cisco High School earlier this month. Video captured by one of the batters’ parents shows the batter at the plate when the McCamey catcher looked as if she was throwing toward third base but instead hit the batters in their heads with the ball. The video went viral.
The UIL's decision came after approximately 45 minutes of the State Executive Committee questioning Woodard. During that testimony, Woodard confirmed that his catcher had done this in four total games this season in may have been actual strategy. According to Woodard, the team had earned five batter interference calls resulting in outs prior to the Cisco incidents that went viral on social media, KMID reported.
The committee strongly emphasized the lack of action and concern shown by Woodard, who also serves as McCamey's football coach. Committee chairwoman Johanna Denson told Woodard that lack of concern made him appear to have condoned the behavior.
According to KMID's Kayler Smith, Woodard reiterated throughout the meeting that he did not condone the behavior and that what he saw after the game in the viral video is “not how he remembers it” happening. Woodard told the committee that after the second batter was hit and the Cisco crowd erupted, Woodard defended his catcher to protect her, but said he regretted not taking her out of the game.
Woodard told the committee after watching the video in hindsight, he believes his catcher intentionally hit the batters. He also admitted that he never reached out to Cisco to find out the condition of the batter that was hit in the face.
Woodard served as the softball coach this year because of a staffing shortage. McCamey ISD superintendent Michael Valencia announced to the committee that Woodard would not return to coaching softball at McCamey, but that it was predetermined before this incident. Woodard will continue his service as the head football coach and athletic director of McCamey ISD during his probation.