Technical foul policy visited

BY PAT FARNELLI

On Thursday, Elk Lake school board members and administrators devoted a chunk of time to talking about the school’s technical foul policy at athletic contests.
Although no names were mentioned, a reference was made to a basketball game that took place recently.
It was apparently the Warriors’ contest against Lackawanna Trail on Feb. 8, when a parent who was at the game said that four technical fouls were called – two against Elk Lake and two against Trail.
“This referee called the first technical of one player’s career,” Board president Anne Teel said.
The suggestion was made that maybe not all of the technical calls were warranted.
A question was raised about when a student is taken out of a game not by flagrant misconduct but by a referee’s discretionary call, if a student could play again.
Superintendent William Bush said the athletic conduct policy was developed when he was a teacher at Elk Lake 30 years ago and then modified when he first came on as superintendent.
He said that since the policy was originally addressed, “We really haven’t had any issues with it.”
For athletes, as the school’s policy stands, if you get one misconduct you are suspended from the event.
A second misconduct during the season is treated with a player’s suspension from the next game.
A third misconduct during the season is treated by a one month suspension.
A fourth misconduct during a season is treated by suspension for the remainder of the season.
And, a fifth misconduct, apparently if it happens in a subsequent season is treated by permanent ineligibility.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules are less punitive: a player who is called on a technical can be taken out, and then come right back in, said board member Eric Emmerick, who is the school’s representative to PIAA District 2.
“Give the coach some discretion about whether to pull the player from the game after the first offense,” suggested Emmerich.
If that’s a change in school policy, junior high school principal Brian Mallery asked, “When does this change take effect?”
Board vice president Matt Curley said, “If we are saying that it’s a bad policy, there is only one day that’s the right day to change a policy and that’s today. “
Bush read the proposed policy revision aloud: “A player ….will be immediately removed from the contest and a substitution will be made. It will be at the coach’s discretion as to whether the athlete reenters the game.”
The board voted to approve the revision of the district’s athletic eligibility policy.