Ever been penalised for being too good at something? It’s a situation poor American football coach Rob Shaver has found himself in after his side thrashed an opponent beyond the permitted regulations imposed within Nassau County, New York State.
In Nassau County, a team isn’t permitted to beat another side by 42 points (six scores ahead).
Coach Shaver’s Plainedge High School football team demolished the South Side Cyclones by a stonking 61 to 13.
Those who have ‘quick maths’ will realise this violates the ‘lopsided scores policy’ ruling by a good six points.
The two sides were both undefeated before the meeting. Plainedge had in fact won every single one of their previous games in October by the sanctioned ‘42’.
Whereas a team in other sports can be penalised for fielding a weakened side, the suggestion is that in the game there was ample opportunity by Shaver to make the scoreline preventable i.e. to bench his first teamers once the scoreline spiralled.
The purpose? To avoid humiliation for the opposition.
Pat Pizzarelli executive director of Section VIII Athletics attempted to clarify the ruling “Their first team played in the fourth quarter… and I think that’s what swayed the committee.
"Is it worth beating a team 70–0? Isn’t 30 or 40 points enough?”
If a coach can present clarification for a mauling to a committee - that points have been provided by back-up players - the suspension can be revoked. Plainedge has opted not to contest, with the decision coming late in the season.
Interestingly, in an interview with the local arm of Fox News, Shavers’ opposition coach Phil Onesto of SS bore no hard feelings at being subjected to such a heavy defeat.
"I had no issues with how he was running his team. Even after the game, Coach Shaver and I, we spoke and there was no bad blood. I congratulated him on the win and wished him luck next week."
Shaver, reportedly the first to have felt the wrath of the violation in Nassau County, was subsequently instructed to miss his team’s next game.
“They thought it was a mismanaged game,” commented Shaver to Newsday, “which my opinion is, that isn’t the rule. It should be: You ran up the score on purpose. That’s what the intent of the rule is for.
“What made me the most upset, to be honest is, listen, if the South Side coach complained and said, ‘This guy definitely ran up the score on us,’ well, then they should investigate. Because that’s the intent of the rule. The spirit of the rule is to prevent better teams from running up on lesser programs and sportsmanship and dignity and all that stuff. I get it.
That didn’t happen.
So just remember readers, if you find that you’re particularly decent at something and find yourself in a certain region of New York, it might do well to show some state-sanctioned restraint.