Tough penalties for coaches fair

Published 9:32 am Monday, June 8, 2015

Coaches for four high school dance teams have been suspended for a year because of their role in a protest staged during the awards ceremony at the state Class 3A high-kick tournament Feb. 14.

Teams from Chaska, Eastview, Lakeville South and Wayzata protested what they claim was a plagiarized routine by the winning team from Faribault. Those teams, including Eden Prairie, had their teams move away from the Faribault team during the awards ceremony.

The protest was disrespectful and poor sportsmanship.

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The action was a blatant slap in the face for the sport and the high school league.

The coaches’ suspensions were justified. The high school league board needed to send a clear message to coaches and teams: Show respect and sportsmanship.

If coaches or teams have a beef with the results of a competition, follow the high school league’s procedures.

If the high school league’s board would have allowed the protest to go unchallenged, it would have opened the door for additional, and perhaps more flagrant, displays of taunting or protests.

Coaches set the tone for the players’ reaction after emotion-laden competition. Respect and good sportsmanship should be the lesson from coaches to players. Coaches should insist players act with the utmost respect. Win or lose — no taunting, no protests.

In this case, league officials investigated the claim of plagiarism. Officials intend to review the rules and look at possible changes later this year.

The league’s executive/eligibility committee supported suspending the coaches. A letter of censure will be sent to each program’s activities director. Coaches must participate in an in-service called Why We Play, sponsored by the league.

Each of the four schools did their own investigations and handed down less severe discipline. Five coaches from the Eden Prairie team, which took part in the protest, decided not to continue as coaches. But school officials said the decisions weren’t based on disciplinary actions, according to a news report in the Star Tribune.

Dance team supporters and competitors have worked hard to build support for dance team as a high school league-sanctioned sport.

The protests were a mistake. The coaches have paid the price. The second- and third-place teams have received their medals. The rules will be reviewed and changes probably will be made.

It’s time to move on.

The message remains unequivocal: Don’t mess with the league’s rules and standards of conduct.


— St. Cloud Times, June 4

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