bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Chicago high school cheats its way to a title

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When people cheat in the professional ranks, it is a shame. When there is cheating in college sports, it seems a little bit worse, since the players there are younger and are, ostensibly, still kids for the most part. Cheating at the high school level, though, takes it all much farther down a path where there can be no explanation beyond just bad people. In nearly all of those situations, of course, adults are either the ones doing the cheating or they are at least aware and complicit in some way. This week’s example comes from Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago, whose basketball team was ranked second in USA Today’s national rankings until it was revealed that seven of the team’s players were actually academically ineligible to play.

This is no minor slip-up, mind you. When you are talking about seven ineligible kids on one squad, you are talking about a lot of adults being in the know. The school district’s eligibility requirements are not exactly stringent: a student needs to maintain a 2.0 grade point average or have an individual study plan that will help him get there. The team’s head coach, Michael Oliver, along with whatever support staff and administrators were involved (and there absolutely had to be several of those), clearly thought that the school’s run to the city championship and its national standing were far more important than making sure these kids got an education. These kids have very little chance to learn how to be honorable competitors when the people in charge of them at this age have so little integrity.

The damage that has been done goes well beyond the Curie players. The school forfeited its entire season, which certainly hurts the other students at the school, who had surely been excited by the team’s success. I also feel bad for people like the players and students of Whitney Young High School, who lost to Curie in the city final. The title was vacated, not awarded to Whitney Young, and even if it had been handed to them, that would be an empty win. If this had all been revealed before that game, Whitney Young could still have played against whatever other team would have been slotted into that spot. Instead, they got robbed of a chance to revel in that accomplishment.

Coach Oliver has been suspended, which is a step in the right direction. Not so positive, though, is the fact that the team might be able to compete for the state championship due to different (and somehow easier) requirements for eligibility. Even if these players are found to have enough to make that sad grade, the fact that they and their school cheated up to this point should render the question moot. Also, their post-forfeit 0-25 record shouldn’t exactly qualify them for any kind of state playoffs.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Golfer Steve Elkington outed himself as a bigot this week, taking shots at NFL prospect Michael Sam, who is openly gay, on Twitter. Following up a tweet that read, “ESPN covering Michael Sam as a gay athlete is embarrassing,” he then added “ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine. No one else expected to throw today.” I guess I am naive, because I still find this sort of comment amazing.

3) Murder suspect and former NFL player Aaron Hernandez got in a fight in prison this week in Massachusetts. I guess he is not aiming for any of those “good behavior” benefits.

4) A few years ago, I remember reading an absurd story about a high school in Texas that was building a $60 million stadium for its football team. Well, they built it and it opened a year and a half ago. On Thursday, the school district announced that the stadium would be closed indefinitely due to cracks in its foundation. Oops.

5) On Wednesday, TMZ reported that embattled NFL player Richie Incognito’s Ferrari had been vandalized in Arizona. Well, it turns out that he did the vandalizing himself, taking a bat to that beautiful car. I guess you could say this guy has problems.

6) Pitcher Jake Peavy of the Boston Red Sox will miss his first preseason start after slicing his finger with a knife while trying to cut the plastic tie that was holding two new fishing poles together.

Good Sports:

1) Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Ryan Braun has style. The Milwaukee Brewers star hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat since his return from a long suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.

2) Sydney Moss, the estranged daughter of former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss, looks like she inherited some of her dad’s athletic skill. On Friday, she scored 63 points for Thomas More, the Division III basketball school for whom she plays, setting a record for that division.

3) The Wichita State Shockers beat the Missouri State Bears by a score of 68-45 on Saturday, completing their regular season with an unblemished 31-0 record. That’s pretty fantastic.

4) Golfer Paula Creamer was clearly ready for the HSBC Champions tournament to be over on Sunday as she stood on the green of the second playoff hole against Azahara Munoz. Creamer holed an amazing 75-foot putt to win it all.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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One Response to “Bad sports, good sports: Chicago high school cheats its way to a title”

  1. High School is the new college. Heck, they’re recruiting kids in junior high. There is no such thing as childhood anymore. The media and the culture have conspired to make adults out of every child at age 10. I could rage on for another 10K words but I’ll stop there.

    Steve Elkington…you bloody fool. I hope it is a thing about being Australian that may have been lost in translation. I hope for the best for Sam and that he has good health and success in his career. Why be so crass and ignorant and hurt someone else with your words…not to mention the harm you now bring upon your family? No matter what you think in your private life, show some class and integrity to the rest of the world.

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