Leave those boys alone!

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Comedian Steve Martin once joked about giving the death penalty for parking tickets.

That is, in effect, what South Carolina has done to the North Augusta High School boys' basketball team.

And it's no joke.

The Yellow Jackets have been barred from pre- and post-season play in 2008-09, and nine juniors on the team have been ruled ineligible for the entire season because they engaged in a rudimentary off-season workout with an assistant coach present.

It's possible the April 11 workout at Paul Knox Middle School violated South Carolina High School League rules. But the truth is, it was not a "practice," and the event was staged only to help North Augusta grad Bryan Narcisse attract the interest of a Clemson University recruiter and possibly a scholarship to play there. In fact, it was the recruiter's idea in the first place.

North Augusta High was fined $500, and that's perfectly fair. We can also see banning the team from pre-season play.

But post-season play is what these young men are working for with everything in them. And for nine of them to be banned from playing all year long -- well, that's just draconian, heartless and cruel.

It is, indeed, the death penalty, in school sports' vernacular.

We hope the South Carolina High School League will reconsider. This was not anyone's attempt to cheat or to gain an unfair advantage on other teams. It was a goodwill effort on the part of the players to give a friend a boost up to the next level.

The South Carolina High School League risks doing the opposite with these nine boys and their teammates: holding them back from achieving their goals and dreams. How counterproductive and irreparably damaging would that be?

These boys could never recover that year, and it could cripple some of their college careers and, by extension, the rest of their lives.

Do league officials really want to do that? Do they want that on their hands?

Fine the school. Double it, even. Suspend the assistant coach. Put shaving cream on the door handles at North Augusta. But for heaven's sake, leave those boys alone.

Al Pacino, playing a Vietnam veteran in the movie Scent of a Woman , is arguing against a similar unjust punishment against a student when he says, "I have seen boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that."

There is no reason to amputate these boys' spirits.

South Carolina has to be better than that.

Comments (43) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 05/01/08 - 03:44 am
0
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The NAHS athletic department,

The NAHS athletic department, the assistant coach present AND the Clemson representative should be held accountable for breaking the rules.

namaste
0
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namaste 05/01/08 - 04:46 am
0
0
Woooyah! Wonderful

Woooyah! Wonderful movie...wonderful man!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 05/01/08 - 04:53 am
0
0
Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid is as stupid does. This is some major punishment for a petty violation. Some good lesson learning going on here. Typical for high school, I guess.

brimisjoshan
2
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brimisjoshan 05/01/08 - 05:18 am
0
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Define overkilll on the

Define overkilll on the punishment! Accountability for our wrongs should be balanced with appropriate discipline and this just goes too far!

christian134
1
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christian134 05/01/08 - 05:57 am
0
0
Just plain out-right bad

Just plain out-right bad call...Someone did this to "show" someone else they have the "power"....That person should be taken to the woodshed for starting this mess to begin with....Jealousy or meaness is clearly behind this idiotic decision....

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 05/01/08 - 06:37 am
0
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The morons knew the rules but

The morons knew the rules but threw caution to the wind. They need their [filtered word]e$ burned to teach them a lesson. All punishment can seem unjust-but Mom and Dad sure I got busted with some weed but come on it is an archaic law, and I wasn't hurting anybody, and weed is less harmful than alcohol, and now with this record I won't be able to go to medical school and my life could be ruined. boo-hoo. Pathetic excuses-we have rules and laws for a reason. If you don't like it fight to change the rules and laws. It seems the Coach Groom mentality. Funk the rules!!!!

shivas
2
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shivas 05/01/08 - 06:40 am
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When there is a violation of

When there is a violation of rules, who decides if it's petty or not? You can argue this should not be a rule, but to argue it's stupid after a violation is as PT states "stupid is , stupid does." BTW, the boy in Scent of a Woman never violated a rule, but was set-up, and would not squeel. I guess the message to these boys and coaches would be that rules aren't really important, and you can ignore them if you think they're stupid. Kinda like the Greenbriar and Lakeside coaching goofs this past year.

Martinez
154
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Martinez 05/01/08 - 06:52 am
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Both Greenbrier and Lakeside

Both Greenbrier and Lakeside received their punishments. If the students involved are juniors and were truly prospects to play at the college level, they should have already registered with NCAA and thus read and signed agreements clearly explaning the rules. Just because you know others who did it and didn't get in trouble doesn't mean you too can break a rule. School sports participation, is a privledge. Extending that privledge to the next level, college, requires the strict adherence to certain rules. The governing body didn't create the problem here. I agree all the adults involved should be punished a lot harsher then the kids but the kids, who are all nearing adult age, are also accountable for their actions.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 05/01/08 - 07:30 am
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I can only say that the

I can only say that the editor who wrote this has brain damage. I guess he/she is teaching their kids that rules and laws apply to everyone but them and are only applicable if they help them or it is convenient. Blinded by sports ambitions. The lesson learned is greater than any sport.

reallybugged
0
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reallybugged 05/01/08 - 07:50 am
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Speaking of drain bamage,

Speaking of drain bamage, bizarro, the point of the article is you don't use a hand granade to kill an ant hill.

justus4
99
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justus4 05/01/08 - 07:53 am
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The last sentence of the
Unpublished

The last sentence of the article is wishful thinking. SC have a proven history of practicing amputations. Ha! They started the Civil War (Ft Sumpter) because they wanted an amputation from America. These guys must be minorities and heavy-handed tatics by the administration (they'll say "the boys knew the rules") are extremely common in the south. They (administrators) will hang their hat on the rules/law, while a drug dealing, former state legislator get probation for a large amount of drugs. They (the boys on the team) have gotta just be better & smarter, cause that's what this country offers minoirities. Good luck.

Little Lamb
43827
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Little Lamb 05/01/08 - 07:59 am
0
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I say do away with the rule

I say do away with the rule and let the boys practice any chance they can. We have too many rules around here.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 05/01/08 - 08:03 am
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You mean genade, and seems

You mean genade, and seems the punishment fit the crime. Define ant hill.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 05/01/08 - 08:12 am
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The assistant coach and the

The assistant coach and the recruiter told the boys, "Hey, come out and run some drills with ol' Bobby so we can see if he's worth taking a look at this season!" You're a high school boy. Do you REALLY stop and say, "Hmmm...I wonder if this violates some arcane rule of the SCHSL?" Or, do you say, "Coach says to come out and shoot some hoops. Great!" Why on EARTH is there any punishment at all for the players, if they were complying with reasonable instructions from a coach? It would be different if the coach told them to do something self-evidently wrong, like break into the school (or like the football coach did last season at...Lakeside?). I can't imagine what the boys' "offense" was, here...it's the coach's job to know the practice/eligibility rules...

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
0
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 05/01/08 - 08:25 am
0
0
i agree 1000% with the

i agree 1000% with the ac...this is way much ado about nothing.
parents ,students,school should sue....this is bs .

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 05/01/08 - 08:27 am
0
0
Key Point: You dont

Key Point: You dont institute the death penalty for speeding 10 miles over the limit. C'mon guys this is just excessive punishment and johnsmith is right... punish the coach not the players.

S.C. Dawg
0
Points
S.C. Dawg 05/01/08 - 09:31 am
0
0
This is ABSURD. Tryouts with

This is ABSURD. Tryouts with pro scouts and college reps do nothing to further the success of the team , and the State is punishing the individuals for trying to help a fellow teammate further his career. They were doing this on their own. No benefit in it for the team. No revenue in it for the high school. No punishment should be rendered to the team. This is sad. These athletes were willing to give their personal time to help a fellow athlete in his pursuit to become a college student athlete . Not allowing them to paticipate for 1 complete year of their 3 years of eligibility is wrong! This rule needs changed.

NotyourDadsBuick
1
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NotyourDadsBuick 05/01/08 - 10:15 am
0
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Residents of the CSRA, or at

Residents of the CSRA, or at least those who post on this site, are notorious for claiming to be law and order citizens right up to the point where it's no longer convenient. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse. Sure, the coach should have known better (and what the hell was anyone doing listening to a recruiter?) but you break a rule and get caught you pay the price. Never mind the fact that if the kid they were supposedly helping was any good to begin with he would received an offer already. Suck it up and deal with it, life's tough - deal with it.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 05/01/08 - 10:32 am
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Buick, your rant makes no

Buick, your rant makes no sense. If a student is taking a test, and the teacher tells that student that it is acceptable to ask another student for help on the test, do you penalize the STUDENT if it later turns out not to be the case? Of course not. The most logical thing would be to administer a new test to that student, and make a separate decision regarding the teacher's actions. Such is this case. We cannot spend a child's school career asking him to respect authority, only to penalize him when he does so. There is nothing in this situation that should have yelled "STOP!" to these boys, who probably play basketball every day after school together, anyway. Again, the responsible party is the adult who gave the instructions, not the athletes. What in the hell does that have to do with being "law and order" citizens, Buick? Are we supposed to follow your example and abandon any concept of common sense? Your reasoning is the sort that leads to kids being expelled for bringing butter knives and baby aspirin to school...

Farful
7
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Farful 05/01/08 - 10:46 am
0
0
You are correct, Dr. Spinks,

You are correct, Dr. Spinks, the adults broke the rules. Punish the adults and leave the children out of it.

GA Girl
0
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GA Girl 05/01/08 - 11:20 am
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Rules are rules- you break

Rules are rules- you break them, you pay the penalty. Even for snooty NAHS. Simple. Oh, by the way- it's grenade. Not ganade or granade. Boo-Yah!

sportslover
0
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sportslover 05/01/08 - 11:21 am
0
0
UNbelievalbe! We've got

UNbelievalbe! We've got blatent violations going on right here in the CSRA where kids (with the help of their parents,) are going to schools they are not zoned for, even across the bridge, just so they can play sports where they want to. Does anybody really think those boys knew they were violating any rule by going up to a gym for a scrimmage with some players in hopes that the Clemson coach might offer their teammate a scholarship? It is not up to the players to know all the rules, it is the coach's responsibility. Those boys are on AAU basketball teams that practice (legally per SCHSL rules) many times a week beginning March 25 so it seemed natural to get together. There was no varsity coach present and no teaching involved, period! As for the person thinking the boys need to know NCAA rules... NCAA rules are contradictory to SCHSL rules so there seems to be a real "gray" area.Many of the posts here seem to be from people judging the sitation on what they've heard and the term "workout" being confused with "high school team practice." The SCHSL needs to revisit their rules so they are not open to interpretation depending on who is reading them. Go Jackets!

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 05/01/08 - 11:25 am
0
0
Life ain't fair-get over it!

Life ain't fair-get over it! I would have sympathy for someone who was just liberated from five years of prison after their innocence was finally proven. I agree it is a rotten deal, but you can line it up with about a hundred other rotten deals. What better way to punish the adults by taking away their players. The kids will get over it. It is just a game. Perhaps we should all start belly aching about the injustices we've endured. There are instances of our military servicemen who have been court martialed for obeying orders. Muck Fe!!!! That ain't fair. If the kids do have talent I'm sure they will be college atheletes. Of course it is absurd but what's new.

shivas
2
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shivas 05/01/08 - 11:58 am
0
0
Letting these guys break the

Letting these guys break the rules would be like making a criminal distinction between crack cocaine and powder co...., OH!!! nevermind.

Rozzie2003
5
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Rozzie2003 05/01/08 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Puinish the Coach who

Puinish the Coach who instructed them to come out and play.
Let those kids play next season.

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 05/01/08 - 12:53 pm
0
0
No one is saying that there

No one is saying that there should not be some type of sanction. However, rarely do you get the death sentence for stealing a candy bar. Bizarro, your life is not fair does apply in this situation, because this punishment is definitely not fair to the students involved. No way in sand hills they would have participated if they knew it was in violation.

sneaky pete
0
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sneaky pete 05/01/08 - 01:27 pm
0
0
First off, this shows the

First off, this shows the utter stupidity of Bizarro, shivas and a couple others. These kids were playing basketball. Basketball. They were not running around getting into trouble or starting fights or being a nuisance. If these young men do have to forfeit any chance of playing in the tourneys, a few are likely to not play at all. Then what do they do? We don't have enough resources for teens as it is that are positive, but basketball is a positive thing. If South Carolina does punish them for playing a game, then south Carolina needs to take a long look at itself.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 05/01/08 - 01:45 pm
0
0
Why is there ever a rule to

Why is there ever a rule to limit practice of any kind. That is not a rule in life; if it had been there would never have been a Tiger Woods. What happened to freedom? I am lost on this one. Do we also need a rule to eliminate those who try harder. We have more rules in schools today than in history and are they really better schools because of it?

oh man
0
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oh man 05/01/08 - 01:51 pm
0
0
Clemson should be held

Clemson should be held accountable. College recruiters know the rules better than anyone so why was the recruiter pushing for something that would cause all these boys so much trouble. Lets just hope the young man did get a scholarship out of this. Yes it is a rule about play and every high school has rules on practise as well as player eligibility that get broken every day. Isn't it ashame that the governing body doesn't punish them without taking away their ability to play.

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 05/01/08 - 01:57 pm
0
0
I say they all should

I say they all should transfer to Georgia. If South Carolina does not appreciate the hard work that these players have put into this, then they should go somewhere that will. They are making a serious mistake IMHO. This decision will or could impact these players for the rest of their lives.

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