Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Matt Gelb: Thoughts on District 1 ruling of Villa Joseph Marie girls' soccer forfeit

Matt Gelb: Thoughts on District 1 ruling of Villa Joseph Marie girls' soccer forfeit

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The news of District 1's ruling of a forfeit against Villa Joseph Marie girls' soccer is all covered here. But a few more thoughts before we finally put this controversy to bed...

Mainly, what this all boils down to is a series of unfortunate events. Consider:

-- Strath Haven usually has a certified athletic trainer at every event. This time, there was none because the trainer was attending a funeral for his grandmother.

-- Officials from Strath Haven called Villa Joseph Marie athletic director Joe Levins during the day of the game on Oct. 5 to tell him there would not be a trainer. By the time Levins got the voicemail left for him, coach Rich Finneyfrock and the girls' soccer team had already left. Levins couldn't reach Finneyfrock to tell him.

District 1 chairman Rodney Stone said the committee felt that Strath Haven made a conscious attempt to contact Villa Joseph Marie.

-- The referees, Mike Crampsey and William Cress, both did everything they could to continue playing the game. Both admitted never having seen a situation like this before and when Finneyfrock was insistent on not playing, the officials called for a suspended game instead of a forfeit.

They filed a report with the district and let them handle the situation, which turned out to be a process more laborious than anyone could have possibly imagined.

***

In handling the decision, District 1 chairman Rodney Stone made the judicious move, allowing the matter to be heard by the district committee during its monthly meeting.

"I don’t think there was much dissent," Stone said. "Many people feel badly about anyone getting a forfeit win or loss, but..."

But the rule is the rule. No trainer is required at PIAA events. That means Villa Joseph Marie is assessed the forfeit.

Yes, it's a shame when any squad is saddled with a forfeit, especially under these circumstances.

Will it force a discussion on the rule? Probably not. Stone said an athletic director told him that he sometimes has five events going on in four different locations at the same time. Having a trainer for all of them is asking a lot.

"It’s just not possible and practical," Stone said.

And it ends there. We think. What are your final thoughts on the issue? I have to say, I've been impressed and a bit surprised by the amount of response I have received from readers. Opinions have varied, but I've asked a lot of people the same question:

If you knew your team would face a forfeit, would you pull them off the field like Finneyfrock did when the injury happened?

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