The PickrenZONE No. 20

Just when you think they can not get any worse, they surprise you.

Just when you think it can not get any more idiotic, it does.

Just when you think.....Well you get the idea.

Once again the SCHSL has their head in the sand and continue to oppose the House Bill allowing dual participation.  This is a bill that would allow student athletes to participate in club or select sports activities for a student athlete when the athlete is a member of  a varsity sport on the high school level. As with most rules in the South Carolina High School League, this rule has never been enforced fairly or equally between sports.

The first question I have is how can the top varsity male and female prep basketball players in the state play for summer leagues and for AAU teams but top soccer players can not play for select or club teams. I am continually amazed at the attitude that the SCHSL shows with this rule and the cavalier approach they show to student athletes.

Ronnie Matthews by now has realized that the legislature is tired of the uneven treatment given to players in this regard. The state government will pass the new law allowing dual participation. It is a foregone conclusion. After years of bowing to the SCHSL on these matters, the legislative has finally taken away the blanket endorsement it has traditionally given the SCHSL. So what does the executive director of the SCHSL say when asked about the bill, ‘‘Kids have to make choices, but the final decision should be the coaches,'' Matthews said. ‘‘As long as participating in athletics is a privilege, then the coach can set the parameters for a player to be on that team"

That makes alot of sense Ronnie.

According to your quote, if a coach wants to make ANY RULE to be on HIS team then he can do so. If he wants to make a rule stating you can not hold a part time job or participate in any other extra curricular activity then the coach has the right to do so. Ronnie, you are flat out wrong on this one. Playing athletics in a school is not a privilege but part of the overall experience of attending and participating in the high school educational experience.

Many years ago high school football coaches ran their team and in many instances their schools like their own personal little fiefdom. Thank God those days are over. Coaches today are now held to the same rules and accountability as other faculty members of a school. Can you imagine a school chorus teacher telling a student not to participate in a church musical because a choral recital is a privilege and his/her rule says you can not perform outside of school chorus practice. The school and community would be outraged.  But on the same token we are telling our young people that if you want to participate in high school soccer or other sport then you can not play on a club or select team.

Of course the SCHSL tries to cover their collective rears on this also. Ronnie says with a dose of wisdom, "let the coaches decide". That seems fair. If the Irmo coach says yes but the Spring Valley coach says no and both players decide to play club ball, then the Spring Valley kid would be ineligible and the Irmo kid would be eligible. Great rule SCHSL. How bout don't ask and don't tell. Seemed to work in other government areas. If you are for letting the coaches decide Ronnie, then why are lobbying against the bill. Geeezzz. Has anyone here ever heard of double speak??? Why are you opposing dual participation with lobbing efforts but then state it should be a coaches decisions. How about let the parents and player decide since they are ultimately responsible for the well being of their children.

All this could be avoided if the SCHSL realized that the club and select teams are great learning experiences for those that participate. I recently spoke with a soccer player who was highly regarded in this state. By the time he was in 8th grade, he had visited Florida, Texas, California, DC and New York with select teams. He was selected to be a member of a regional Under 16 team that was going to train at Colorado Springs during the summer at the Olympic Training Center. He was forced to turn the invitation down. Had he played with the Olympic Training Center team, then he would have been ineligible for the high school season the following spring.

Two of the brightest young soccer players for the USA National Team are Clint Mathis and Josh Wolf. These two players led the US team to World Cup Qualification and a trip to Japan / Korea for World Cup 2002. Both are graduates of the University of South Carolina. Both are superstars who grew up in Conyers / Atlanta, Georgia area.

If they had grown up in South Carolina, they would probably have never made it to this elite level. Clint and Josh both played for countless club teams and select teams all over the USA growing up in Georgia. AT THE SAME TIME, Josh was captioning Parkview High School (Atlanta, GA) to a pair of state championship in 1994 and 1995. Clint led Heritage High to a championship in 93 and was named the National High School player of the year. Of course if they had lived in the South Carolina, the SCHSL would have told them they to either sit out of high school soccer or drop the special teams. Makes a heck of alot of sense to me.

I for one will be proud when Josh and Clint score the winning goals against Portugal, Korea and Poland this summer. Those Southern Boys can flat out play.

But ole Ronnie want to protect his little kingdom. As usual he is not worried about the kids but rather the SCHSL and their power. His second quote is a classic. "The rule disallowing dual participation is in place to prevent conflicts and injuries", league executive director Ron Matthews said.

You must be kidding.

Ronnie, where were you on Thanksgiving Friday night?  Was it raining at your house? You are concerned about injuries but you allowed 800 kids to play football in standing water 3 to 6 inches deep and in a blinding rainstorm with thunder all around. Makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. If you are concerned about the health of players then why in the world did you allow them to play in conditions where injuries could and did easily occur? Where were you when coaches tried to call and get permission to delay the games until the conditions were safer? Uh Huh.......That's what I thought. Another cop out. Show me one study where kids playing club soccer are more likely to get hurt than those who don't. You don't have it because it is simply not true. I hate hypocrisy and the SCHSL just oooooooozzzzzzeeeessss in it.

But at least the legislative is involved now and SCHSL's power is shrinking. Good. The organ


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