Kicker: Frankly Speaking
HL: School board foul
It's time to call a foul on the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The association recently assessed fines on two high schools in the Francophone Sud School District for forfeiting football games last month.
Both games which involved teams from the Moncton area facing off against the Tantramar Titans of Sackville came to an end when the Ecolle L'Odyssee and Mathieu-Martin were unable to field enough healthy players for the second half of their games.
In each game, a number of players were injured as a result of hits, with several suffering from concussions. In the Ecole L'Odessee a total of 12 players were injured with eight of them suffering concussions or concussion like symptoms.
It appears all of the hits were legal ones and no penalties were called but it is most disturbing when that many young athletes are injured in the course of one half of football.
It is the NBIAA which should be penalized for fining each of the losing teams $200 for their forfeits. No game is worth risking the health of young athletes.
Football is a violent sport with the potential for serious injury as recent revelations from professional football have shown. Incumbent upon the school authorities to protect their student athletes to the best of their ability. To force these games to continue would have been neglect if not abuse on the part of the officials.
The NBIAA needs to remember these student athletes are students first, and their ability to continue to do well in their studies must always be their primary concern.
I was glad to read that the fines have not yet been paid, and that the Athletic Association is in discussions with the School District to resolve the situation. The School District has already appealed the fines.
The NBIAA is clearly off-sides on this one and must revoke the fines and rewrite the rules on forfeits esspecially when they result from serious injuries.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.