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Justified or petty?

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Here's a situation that happened recently at the local HS. I'll try to keep it simple. I know what I think, but I'd be curious to hear what others in the community think about the situation. Please, no bashing of HS coaches generally, because with a few changes it could probably apply to travel ball as well. In fact, I'd probably be most interested in hearing what HS coaches think. And no, it's not my daughter.

The local HS had tryouts last week. One player, a senior who was on varsity last year, was put on the JV team. The reason she was given was because she participates in the school's show choir, and as such she would miss a few practices between the end of tryouts and March 21 or thereabouts. The season doesn't open until March 27, weather permitting.

The show choir is a school activity, not an outside one, and is sanctioned by the state high school association as well. It may be a graded class but I'm not sure about that. A couple of years ago they were the national champions, and they consistently rank highly in every competition they enter.

Just to add a little flavor, another player on that team was caught in violation of the school's zero tolerance policy. I've been told by a third party she was also arrested for it. She will miss a portion of the season (practices and games) as a result. She, however, is being allowed to remain on the varsity team and is considered a dedicated player.

So what do you think? Are the coach and the AD right to penalize the first girl for participating in another school activity? Given the circumstance of the second girl, do you think the penalties are being applied fairly?
Feb 8, 2009
I would be interested to know the coaches history concerning discipline of players. If they are consistent, but firm, I could live with that. If they use selective punishment ( how well they like the player is a factor, is there a star system?, do mom and dad bring cookies for the coaches every game?)etc.


Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
Our school has a policy in writing that states that extra curricular activities are expected to support each other. It doesn't state what would happen if one didn't. However, as a coach, I've let kid do the school play as long as they could get their work in. By "get their work in," we've come in early a few times to work with them. In the whole scheme of things, the total student experience is supposed to be supported by educators. Regarding the violation of the code of conduct, in my parent's meeting, I make it apparent that once a child has done their time on the code, they will not be given their position back until they have earned it back. Some player has worked hard and played in a series of games and so, they should not instantly hit the bench when the violator comes back. You do have to be careful how you say that.
May 22, 2008
NW Pennsylvania
sounds like a coach is grasping at straws to get away from the senior girl for reasons unknown to the rest of us. You can be sure if she was the popular star athlete, that little choir thing would not be an issue. The situation with the second girl just enforces my thinking.

In the coaches defense, , I have a girl on my team (rec) that I would give my eye teeth to palm off on someone else.......

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
I thought that "zero policy" meant that you were gone off of the team after the first violation?

I agree that the coach doesn't want the show choir girl. But, in the 2 states that I have lived in a senior could not have been put on JV.

So, I don't have a problem with a coach demoting the senior - but I wouldn't be holding a spot for little Miss Drinker.
May 5, 2008
Absolutely not. That's a terrible reason for putting a player on the JV team. We have girls that miss most all of tryouts and most of pre-season due to playing other sports, yet we HAVE to give them the opportunity to tryout for Varsity anyway. Some teams are primarily made up of players who are still in other sports when tryouts are going on. We also had a few players in the past who were in band. They often missed practices or had to leave early or showed up late, but that's a school activity. We did not penalize them for that in an of itself. Of course, if they are behind their teammates because they miss time, they may not get the playing time. Someone who is more up to par will.

I can understand a coach wanting complete dedication to the sport and the sport only, but I think it's unfortunate that students are penalized for trying to expand their horizons and experiences by being involved with more than one thing for their school.

Now, outside activity is a different story for me.

Obviously when you throw your "little bit of spice" in there with the other student breaking rules and getting arrested and missing out on practices because of bad behavior and they still get to be on the team...it only makes the "injustice" more obvious.

Amy - our rules are like yours...Seniors cannot play JV. Actually in our league, juniors can't play JV either.
Jan 15, 2009
Another school here where a senior cannot play on the JV team, in any sport. Should be interesting next year, because several of our girls sports teams have been VERY heavy in 2010 graduates the last few years (volleyball team, for example, had more juniors this year than seniors and sophomores combined). They are either going to have to cut underclassmen and risk them not trying out the following year, or cut seniors who have played for 3 years already.

As far as substance abuse goes - school policy is being benched for half the season, but softball coach's policy is that you can stay on the team, however, don't expect any playing time at all, even after the first half the season is over. Our HS team is hurting this year because a very talented infielder got in trouble during the off-season, so she didn't even bother trying out.

Editing to add...
Forgot about the other activities issue. My daughter is in jazz band, which is mostly during class time at school. Evening concerts and contests are part of the class though, and are mandatory (grade deduction if skipped). There was a conflict w/ a softball game both freshman and sophomore year. Freshman year, she skipped her game and went to contest. Last year it ended up conflicting with a rescheduled rain make-up game that was at home - band director said she could finish the game and skip warm-ups. He actually said she could have skipped the concert completely if there had been an away game since she skipped her softball game the previous year. School policy though is that if an after school activity is part of a class, then it is required to be attended even if part/all of a game is missed. Usually the coaches and teachers and player/student can come to a workable solution.

Outside of school activities are different - the school sport is expected to take priority. We've ran into a couple of conflicts w/ club volleyball and HS softball in the spring, as well as travel, rec, and HS summer league softball conflicting with HS volleyball during the summer. Current agreement between the HS softball and volleyball coach is that softball (HS summer league) takes priority during season and in June, Volleyball takes priority in July, but they try to work around each other. Basketball coach thinks they get priority over everything, but a non-issue for us since DD dropped basketball once she got to HS.
Jan 15, 2009
My daughter is a freshman this year and swam in the fall for the High School. I ran into a similar issue with the swimming coach and my daughters once a trimester Choir concert. Turns out the concert (which is part of her grade ) and the season ending JV meet were the same night. I was hoping to hear that the coach said "You have to attend the choir concert, that's a scholastic activity and your a student/athlete not an athlete/student" instead I got "Well your gonna have to make a choice." Nice way to make my 14 year old daughter feel guilty about choosing school over sports. I found out 3 or 4 other girls took him up on the offer and missed the concert understanding they would drop half a letter grade for doing so.
Jun 22, 2008
My daughter played 4 years of varsity softball and also was in choir. Her freshman year she missed the first day of a tournament because there was an after school concert that the choir teacher wouldnt excuse her from. Her sophomore year the tournament and concert again fell on the same day and again her concert teacher was refusing to allow her to miss it and told her he would dock her grade if she missed the concert. Her mom and I felt that since she missed the softball tournament the first year the choir teacher should allow her to miss the concert the 2nd year. We approached the AD of the school and spoke to him about the situation. He informed us that if 2 school activities conflict with each other, neither teacher or coach can penalize the student for choosing one activity over the other. Teachers are suppose to give the students the necessary time needed to play extracarricular sports as long as they maintain their grades and school work.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Coaches are generally stupid about this kind of stuff. I once flew a 1000 miles and then drove another 200 miles to see my DD play. The coach would not let her leave the hotel or let us go out for a quiet dinner together so we could talk, even though I hadn't seen her in 2 months.

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