The Herald Bulletin

January 9, 2014

Rick Teverbaugh: Silly school rule hurts prep sports

By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin

— For the third time the Madison County basketball tournament has been pushed back.

I am tempted now to tell you when it is scheduled to start, but I am not going to do that.

Certainly a couple of county athletic directors have taken time out of their busy and disrupted schedules to give me that information. So why am I not passing it on? Because I have no confidence this newest revision will actually take place.

The roads are a mess. I get that. No evening this week has been fit and safe for the players and fans to go to games. I am not calling into question why none of these games have yet been played.

What I don't and have never understood is why some school systems have a rule that if there is no school, there can be no games. That is purely wrong-headed thinking. Why are the two connected?

Is it intended to punish the student/athletes for not spending the time in school?

My point is that Wednesday afternoon isn't a good time to make a decision about what the weather and road conditions will or won't allow on Thursday night. Certainly it is a good time to make a decision on schools for the following morning. Nobody wants school officials to make a decision about school on Thursday on Thursday morning.

But how much could road conditions and weather change between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.?

To me the system of no school, no sports makes no sense and I'll give an example of why.

What if school started in the morning under ideal winter weather conditions — no snow or ice on the roads and moderate temperatures. During the afternoon a huge storm blows in, first putting a sheet of ice down on the roads and then coating them with snow. Temperatures drop like a rock.

School is dismissed at the regular time just ahead of the worst of the storm. That school has a basketball game scheduled that night. Under the rules in place for some of the school systems in this area, the game should be played rather than postponed. After all, the kids went to school so why can't the games be played?

Silly, isn't it.

I don't want any athlete, coach, parent or fan to be put at risk for a basketball game — even one from an important events like the county tourney.

But what I do want is for the athletic directors to have the power to make a decision about a Thursday night game on Thursday afternoon and not have the decision made for them on Wednesday afternoon.

That isn't being done now. For that reason, I will wait and publish the schedule for Friday night on Friday morning. It is the only reasonable thing to do under the current system for making such decisions.

Sports Editor Rick Teverbaugh can be reached at rick.teverbaugh@heraldbulletin.com or at (765) 640-4886.