A Plainedge school district coach was suspended for the season finale this weekend for doing too well. His team defeated the previously undefeated South Side, 61-13 on Friday.
The school Superintendent Ed Salina defended his football coach and criticized the Nassau County sportsmanship rule against teams running up the score against opponents.
Coach Rob Shaver became the first varsity coach suspended under Nassau’s “lopsided scores policy,” as the Superintendent put it on Tuesday.
“I am all for treating everyone justly, but it is my opinion that Coach Shaver was ‘done wrong’ by this group of self-professed experts on sportsmanship,” Salina wrote. Salina also said Shaver is “an incredible person, teacher, and coach. He has nothing but the best interest of all children at the top of his list every day.”
Shaver states that he wasn’t running up the score and only left his best players in because he was concerned South Side might stage a comeback.
Salina, in his 871-word letter posted online, argued that the sportsmanship rule hurts players on the best football teams — such as Plainedge — because it leads coaches to have to remove them from the field in non-competitive games.
“What are you teaching children by saying play fairly but now you are playing too well, don’t play anymore for the rest of the game,” the superintendent said. “Where’s the life lessons?”
Coach Shaver’s team entered the fourth quarter with a 35-point lead.
If you’re a coach, you want to win, and now you have to worry about winning by too much?
The coach for the other team Phil Onesto said he had no problem with how the game went.
Coach Shaver has no problem with the intent of the ‘mercy rule,’ just it’s application.
“They thought it was a mismanaged game, which my opinion is, that isn’t the rule,” Shaver told Newsday. “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,” he continued. “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.”