Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ethicality in Middle School Sports

This popular YouTube video shows a U.S. middle school football team executing a most controversial “trick” play during a regional championship game. The hackles of sportswriters and broadcast commentators have been raised by questions concerning the play’s technical legality and ethical correctness. Concern over these issues immediately attached itself to this well publicized story and continue to trail it to this day.

We invite you to cite the rule book that this middle school league uses to determine legal and fair play. At least one opinion declares that under NCAA football regulations rule 2.23.1.a a legal snap is handing or passing the ball backwards...with a quick and continuous motion of the hand or hands. It appears that Dricscol’s center had the ball in his right hand. He then passed it sideways across the front of his body and handed it in an upward motion to the QB on his left side. By moving the ball sideways instead of backwards. This would qualify as a violation of the NCAA rule, which makes it an illegal snap. War on Sports welcomes our readers’ opinions on the play’s legality with any supporting documentation they may have.

This may not be the most important issue on the planet but it does illustrate the importance of referees, umpires, coaches and sports associations knowing and adhering to the rules of their specific games.

Ultimately, the referees who officiated at this game declared the play itself and the resulting touchdown to be legal. So, the score became 6-6, a tie. Thus, the Wynn Seale team lost its six point lead and a chance to win the game, the final score of which was Driscoll-6 and Wynn Seale-6. The tie mandated that the two schools share championship honors for the season. There is a wide range of review comments centered upon the legality of the "trick play"

The audible cues associated with the play are not apparent to viewers of the viral version of this incident. These largely consist of conversations among the players on the offensive squad, plus verbal communication between Driscoll’s coaching staff and its players on the field. This auditory evidence is potentially a critical factor in anyone’s ability to judge the legality and ethicality of the play itself.

A tally of more than twenty million clicks on a handful of assorted YouTube postings puts coverage of the event in a mega-viral category of its own. Because this issue has generated so much interest and varying opinions, there seems to be no majority consensus on legal vs illegal, fair vs unfair, tricky vs dirty (unethical), and other opposing views regarding ethics and sportsmanship. The entire issue is open for debate until pertinent alleged facts are substantiated and evaluated for their impact on the “success” of the tactical subterfuge. War On Sports will present further information on this topic as it is discovered by our research staff. This should help interested parties in the issue to more accurately evaluate the technical validity and ethical fairness of the “trick play”. Here are some links to material that will facilitate judgmental review of the play.

1. “The Texas game video doesn't really say it all, with voices inaudible on video footage: it's all really a game of "make-believe" as the Driscoll Middle School quarterback actually pretends to ask for help from the sidelines, then walks slowly with the football, eventually picking up speed, to run for his life through defensive players and into the end zone. The "trick play" that's been called "clever", by many, however, isn't really all that clever--but it is an excellent example of poor sportsmanship.”

2.   Here’s an academic explanation of why the trick succeeded as a “psychological warfare” ploy.  

3.  Also, FYI please review Driscoll Middle School’s website to get a more complete understanding of the priorities regarding academic and athletic programs at this institution. Driscoll Middle School

1 comment:

  1. I think your blog is wonderful, and very thoughtful. I was, unfortunately, an absentee mom with law school, two jobs and being single However I have noticed since my grandson how everyone is totally absorbed 7 days a week in some group school sport. It starts almost as soon as they are walking! There is no longer any private, free creative play time just exploring nature and books. Luckily, my son agrees to some extent - mom feels her boys must be well socialized and therefore, group sports are a must. At least, we have a balance. I'm glad you brought this issue to the forefront. I am very self absorbed, but you have reminded me that this is a major problem. I will become more aware, and start looking for little things I can do to encourage proper developments.