High School Athletes Suspended For Underage Drinking

SCOTT KEELER | Times (05/21/2010)SP_322478_KEEL_Football 10. St. Petersburg Catholic High School quarterback Tim McKay, (23), looks to hand the ball off against Indian Rocks Christian at Seminole Friday night. [SCOTT KEELER, Times.

It comes as no surprise that a group of athletes (out of Fort Edward High School in New York) have been suspended for an underage drinking party as reported by The Post Star newspaper/website. In their piece, Eight Fort Edward athletes disciplined, they describe the all too common occurrence of athletes participating in activities prohibited by the school's athletic code. The code that all athletes are required to sign, and agree to abide by, in order for them to participate as high school athletes.

I will leave most details of this incident for you to read on your own (just click on the linked title above) in order to address one issue that glares out at me from this piece. This glaring issue is depicted in the following paragraph:

"Because the homeowner did not want to get anyone in trouble by giving out names, and because there were no other eyewitnesses, Derway said, many people in the village have expressed the opinion that the school's punishment is unfair."

Ok, let me get this straight. We have "many people" (adults, parents???) who are expressing an opinion that the punishment - suspension, a consequence that is part of the code that athletes give their word they will honor, is too harsh because the homeowner did not want to give out names?

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  A detailed picture of bottles of beer before Super Bowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Seriously, people actually believe that these athletes should not be held accountable for the choices they made because someone did not give up their names? This is in combination with the likely fact that the school has information identifying the culprits beyond what this homeowner can give. The article states after school officials met with the students in question that "every student the school dealt with...had violated the Student Athletic Code of Conduct."

Whether it was through Facebook, some other internet communication venue, or simple admittance of wrongdoing, any implication (especially by adults) that holding these student athletes accountable through a short stint of suspension from athletic activity is simply mindboggling.

In my high school athletic days, thirty-some odd years ago, there would have been a lot less of this questioning of the consequence. Oh sure, we had student athletes doing the same kind of things, more times than I can count. Drinking parties are certainly not new, but what is new (or newer) is the enabling behavior from adults and parents that so often accompanies discipline of today's student athletes when they are caught misbehaving.

Sadly, times really have changed!!! 

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