Sunday, August 13, 2000


OHSAA needs to crack down on misconduct in soccer

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Coaches, players and fans often have suggested the Ohio High School Athletic Association's ejection rule discriminated against soccer.

        They argued that ejections are for many reasons, and they wanted only flagrant fouls to result in a two-game suspension.

        Under the OHSAA's policy instituted in 1994, ejected athletes in all sports except football served two-game suspensions. Football players sat out one game.

        After years of lobbying for a relaxation of the code, the OHSAA relented in 1999 with the promise that the number of misconducts by players and coaches would drop significantly.

        Under the old rule, any player who received a red card (ejection from the game) from the officials for violations was forced to sit out the next two games.

        The relaxed rule left it up to officials to determine if the penalty was flagrant and merited the two-game suspension.

        The results from last season are in, and the final tally is well short of expectations, especially in boys soccer.

        There were 277 boys soccer players ejected and 27 coaches in 1999, com pared with 306 players and 26 coaches in '98, a decrease of only 8 percent.

        In girls soccer, 49 players were ejected in '99 compared with 41 in '98. But only four coaches were thrown out last year, against 12 in '98.

        The OHSAA's experiment in soccer was a failure.

        If there isn't a significant improvement during the 2000 season, the OHSAA should take a firm stand.

        Players who can't control their emotions should face a five-game suspension for the first offense and a season-ending suspension for the second.

        Too many excuses are made for poor conduct, not only in soccer but in all sports. The safety of the players is more important than winning at any cost.

        Among other sports, boys golfers had only one ejection, in 1995, and girls swimming and girls track have seen only three. Girls volleyball has had four athletes ejected since 1994.

        The biggest increase came in wrestling; there were 88 ejections in 1999-2000 compared with 53 in 1997-98.

        PLEASE RETURN QUESTIONNAIRES: Girls and boys golf and girls tennis coaches must return or fax (768-8550) the preseason questionnaires to The Enquirer (312 Elm Street) no later than Monday to be included in Friday's previews. Coaches of all other fall sports must submit the questionnaires by Wednesday.

        HELP WANTED: Kings has the following coaching vacancies: girls varsity assistant, junior varsity and freshman basketball, and girls junior varsity and junior high volleyball. Call Gregg Darbyshire at 459-2939.

        Finneytown is looking for a girls varsity basketball coach. The school also needs a varsity assistant and junior varsity coaches. Call Chuck Grosser at 728-3700.

        DOUBLE DUTY: On an experimental one-year basis, Bruce Bagley will coach both the boys and girls soccer teams at St.Bernard.

        “In 26 years, I've never coached girls, but it's sort of neat,” Bagley said.

        Prior to taking over at St. Bernard, Bagley coached soccer for 16 years at Greenhills and eight at Princeton. Bagley has 19 boys and 14 girls on the teams, but he expects those numbers to increase. The girls team finished 0-16-1 last year; the boys went 7-9-2. Bagley, who has 425 victories as a baseball coach and 305 as a soccer coach, has surrounded himself with experienced assistants

        Former Glen Este boys and girls coach Al Wright and former Greenhills coach Trish Covode work with the girls, and 22-year assistant George Fecher handles the boys.

        Bagley said the two teams will work separately from each other, except for conditioning and skills.

        “Our goal is to have the kids play better soccer and show improvement every game,” Bagley said. “The kids are dedicated, and we should be much better.”

        Dave Schutte covers Ohio high school sports for The Enquirer.


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