MIKE NIETO: What have we learned from fallout from Class 2A boys state championship game?

2013-04-11T19:00:00Z 2013-04-12T03:16:08Z MIKE NIETO: What have we learned from fallout from Class 2A boys state championship game?Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
April 11, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

What have we learned from the incidents that occurred during and after the Class 2A boys state championship game?

The Illinois High School Association issued its sanctions Wednesday against state champion Harrisburg, runner-up Seton Academy and the officials for failure to enforce bench conduct during the game.

Seton Academy coach Brandon Thomas is barred from coaching his team the next two years during the postseason and Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters is barred next year, but Smithpeters can still coach in the postseason if he completes a teaching and modeling behavior training program. Both are on probation for the 2013-14 school year. Both schools can appeal the decisions to the IHSA board of directors.

Both coaches' actions on the court were not of the highest standard. Thomas' suspension is the result of what the IHSA said was an "obscenity-laced tirade in the presence of student-athletes in the tunnel following the first half." Thomas also threw his medal to an assistant coach and the Sting left the court without accepting the runner-up trophy.

Thomas should be responsible for his actions and should have been punished, but should he be banned two years from coaching in the postseason and no chance to go to a behavior program? He should have at least been given that opportunity. The punishment does not fit the crime.

He did leave the court and got into a verbal altercation with a fan, but that fan was giving verbal shouts to Thomas' wife, who was holding his young son. Yes, it is easy to say Thomas should have ignored it, but if that was your wife and your child, how would you have reacted?

He should have accepted the trophy and shook hands with the IHSA officials and Gov. Pat Quinn, but maybe it was best he got his team out of there. If Seton had stayed on the court at the Peoria Civic Center, maybe things would have gotten worse.

It was a heated game and the Seton players said they heard racial slurs, but the IHSA cold not prove it, nor did the organization dispute what the Seton players said.

The sad thing is a lot of the stuff going on was in the stands and between fans. These are supposedly adults. What kind of example do they set?

Harrisburg superintendent Dennis Smith's comments are really out of line when asked by The Southern Illinoisian about the sanctions.

“This is a make-up call for what Seton Academy did. The IHSA had to do something after releasing that initial statement so quickly.

“Seton Academy’s behavior was despicable, and I am offended that our kids, coaches and school have been maligned because of it.”

 So what have we learned?

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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