Why Have Rules?
Here it is, taken from a dictionary and just in case you know of people who aren't so sure of the definition for the word "rule".
That which is prescribed or laid down as a guide for conduct or action; a governing direction for a specific purpose; an authoritative enactment; a regulation; as, the rules governing a school;
The rule is clear, so why do people - including the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations - have so much difficulty understanding and enforcing a "rule". For OFSAA, I am referring to its rule relating to sanctions when a team fails to follow procedures.
A story in the Star last week, about two schools who had problems with rules, created quite a bit of a stink and lots of reaction from readers. I'm talking about Toronto's Father Henry Carr and Oakville's St. Ignatius of Loyola's and their different problems encountered with - rules.
Paul Melnik at Carr admitted publicly that he made an error - reading and interpreting rules about eligibility, which were from an older version of the league Constitution. His mistake was costly to the junior boys' basketball team. A 9-0 record went to 1-8 for using an over-age player. I didn't see the Toronto District Colleges Athletic Association bend on rules or issue any warnings or thank Melnik for his honesty. Heck, they handed down a penalty very quickly. Rule was violated, now pay the price, is how many interpreted the swift action.
A different rule affects Loyola. - and the Halton, as well as Golden Horseshoe, athletic associations seem to be hiding under the carpet.
Over at the Oakville-area Catholic school, which has a dominant senior basketball team, coach Gary Laurin was asked by me to explain a few things relating to a recent Florida tournament trip. Nope. Nice guy that he is, people in his Halton athletic association told him to keep quiet. No comment. Likely figuring things would quiet down.
His team attended a tournament in Florida that was sanctioned by the U.S. athletic association. But Loyola, despite clear rules, failed to get prior approval from OFSAA.
No big deal? Some would agree. Many more, apparently, don't - especially those who have been penalized by OFSAA in past. As an example, Pickering basketball coach Mike Gordensky was thrown under a bus with a hefty one year suspension from coaching - and even warned not to show up in a public gym to watch his team play a provincial playoff game. This was after he admitted to using two players at a U.S. tournament. He also had support from his principal.
OFSAA's executive director Doug Gellatly said last week that his organization would investigate Loyola - but only if there was a complaint from a teacher, coach or school. So, that has left some Star readers shaking their heads thinking that rules can be broken. Just don't get caught.
Hold on. Why even have rules? OFSAA should enforce them - especially after it claims to have so much power and authority. Now, OFSAA appears to have rules on paper only and a problem with credibility.
One last thing, OFSAA, on its website, writes: "We also take a proactive role in dealing with issues that affect students, coaches, schools and communities."