BY SCOTTIE BROWN
The Greenville Standard
Although two out of the three high schools in the area were reported to have received fines or experience ejections for the 2017-2018 school year, Butler County School Superintendent John Strycker said all schools would be setting a precedence in the coming sports seasons in order to prevent future occurrences.
“I hope all my coaches do all they can to ensure all our participants have sportsmanship,” Strycker said. “Up front, we try to mentor our young people to be leaders and behave themselves. I hope we have no incidents this year, but it could be 20. How we deal with them will be consistent from year-to-year, though, and I still go back to the Butler County commitment for this.”
Greenville High School was charged for two separate incidents during its spring sports season. Although the school was responsible three separate fees, Greenville High School Principal Joseph Dean said a volunteer baseball coach’s ejection from a game accrued two fines.
On Feb. 26, the school was fined a total of $300 for the coach’s ejection, and on March 5 was fined $500 for the unsportsmanlike conduct. On March 20, the school was fined $250 due to an AHSAA audit where it was discovered an incorrect physical form had been submitted for one of the school’s student athletes, Dean said.
While one incident weighed heavier than the other monetarily, Dean said school administration had chosen to share accountability for the incidents with all parties involved.
“The consequences moving forward were shared, meaning that if anyone was at fault, they equally were to blame,” Dean said. “We are going to keep doing what we have done, and will continue to, communicate. The students and the coaches know the ramifications of their actions, and the consequences thereof. For athletes, as well as coaches, we require them to pay the fine. If you get ejected, if you show unsportsmanlike conduct, and a fine is admitted, we will have them pay. “
Georgiana High School was charged for one singular incident in its fall sports season. Georgiana Principal Joseph Moorer said while the school’s football team had not started a fight, which broke out during the first game of playoffs against Winerboro, the school was cited two fines for the incident.
“There were 23 seconds left of play, our running back was running, and they tackled him,” Moorer said. “When they tackled him, he stood back up, and when he stood back up and they tackled him again. When he stood back up, then, the whole bench came onto the field. Their whole bleacher and some of the fans came onto the field, too. The only reason we got fined was because it was on our field.”
The school was fined $100 for an ejection and $500 as a school fine on Nov. 13 for the incident. Moorer participated in an in-depth investigation into the incident with AHSAA, and as a result, administration had taken created a secondary safety plan for events to deter events such as this.
“We created another safety plan,” Moorer said. “We now have it where the police department will work to have both sides on the field. If we find we don’t have enough police officers for that particular game with Georgiana, we will work with the Butler County Sheriff Department.
We applauded our team and praised them as well as our audience for not coming off the stands, but we will have more security in place. We had four officers in place at the time, but you can’t ever have enough, especially in a playoff-type of situation.”
In efforts to act proactively rather than reactively, Dean said the Greenville High School administration will continue to be more vocal with all members of the community to ensure everyone continues to take preventing these types of issues seriously.
“We are going to be more vocal without student athletes,” Dean said. “If we don’t communicate to them they won’t take it to heart. If you are letting them know, this is the end result. It’s not just you got the wrong form and it’ll be ok, it’s that there is going to be a follow up to it. It lingers on, and it has more ramifications. We are going to do better at communicating with parents and with students. And, we are going to reach out to the doctors to communicate with them to let them know what is needed.”
Like Dean, Moorer said the Georgiana High School administration had increased communication with all members of its community as well.
“That was a mentoring moment for us,” Moorer said. “That was a teaching moment. We went to them after that game and the next week and let them know this is what happens. When you see something like this happen, you get out of the situation as fast as possible. The athletic director got involved and we talked to all our sports teams. We will continue to train them. This was something I couldn’t control at the time, but making sure we have enough safety out there is.”
Strycker said each school’s approach to preventing issues of this nature in the future was on-point with his commitment to improving the area’s school system.
“We will continue to have students with leadership skills,” Strycker said. “We will have a staff that follows and practices sportsmanship. While we’re dealing with these situations, our big picture is we want to be proactive, and that is why the Butler County Commitment goes back to holding everyone accountable.”