MIKE NIETO: Where has sportsmanship gone?

2013-05-23T18:00:00Z 2014-06-27T23:00:25Z MIKE NIETO: Where has sportsmanship gone?Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 23, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

The question has been asked many times: "Has the sport gone out of sportsmanship?"

If you look at what has gone on at sporting events across the country and right here in Illinois with local schools, you too would wonder.

What was considered unacceptable in past generations, is now considered acceptable.

The Seton Academy-Harrisburg mess at the Class 2A state boys basketball state championship wasn't settled until May -- almost two months after the game ended.

While both teams were involved as well as the coaches, the postgame scuffles involved fans. Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters and Seton coach Brandon Thomas were levied penalties and both school placed on probation for one year. Thomas has since resigned as Seton's coach.

Just last week, the Illiana Christian and T.F. South varsity baseball teams exchanged words in their postgame handshakes.

Illiana coach Dan Gibson and T.F. South coach Matt Tiffy also exchanged words before cooler heads prevailed and the two teams went in opposite directions.

I know both coaches have a passion for the game, but they also have an obligation to set an example. Both coaches are good guys and love the game, but maybe just got caught up in the moment. T.F. South and Illiana Christian high schools do it the right way and one mishap should not define the schools or the community. Nor should these teams not play each other. It is a good rivalry and the two should continue playing each other.

Illiana Christian athletic director Lance Davids issued a statement via email earlier this week.

"We are disappointed in our actions and we have and will continue to address this internally with our players and coaches," Davids said. "We have always had a good relationship with T.F. South and will work with them to see that continue."

T.F. South athletic director Marc Brewe left a voice message stating that South has addressed the situation.

"It's been addressed," Brewe said. "We are striving to have good sportsmanship."

Recently in Utah, a student-athlete punched a referee and the official died as a result of injuries suffered from the punch. In 1994, an official in northwest Illinois was followed home by fans after missing a call in a high school playoff game. That was nearly 20 years ago.

It's time for sportsmanship to return to sports.


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

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