Opinion

Players in Wetzel County town get a raw deal

A column by Shawn Rine of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WVSSAC Executive Director Gary Ray told our Dave Morrison on Monday, that ”the athletes are only eligible at the school they are enrolled in,” and ”they can’t go to another school and participate in any other sports (without sitting out a year).”

Rules are rules, and I get that. But when a rule is applied in a manner that is not in the spirit of how it is intended, that is when we have a big problem.

Hundred players weren’t transferring for a better chance athletically, they were doing so because their school no longer offered the sport. You should know that the SSAC permits middle-school students to transfer to a neighboring school to take advantage of sports their current school doesn’t field, as long as they return to the high school in their district when it is time.

The Hornets opened up practice with 14 players, at which time Rush pleaded with the student body to help find four more bodies to save the season. When that didn’t happen, all was lost.

”It’s not (the kids’) fault at all,” Rush said Tuesday morning. ”The 14 out there wanted to play and I have a couple that still really want to play.

”I feel really bad for the seniors. Maybe we can get this team started up again next year or the year after.”

What gets lost here, is that this whole ordeal doesn’t involve solely the football players. The band and the cheerleaders also are going through a rough time.

It’s been hinted that Hundred may offer cross country as an alternative to football. That’s great and all, but is the band going to play in the woods at meets? Will the cheerleaders be waiving their pom-poms on the edge of creek beds? Will the homecoming court be standing in dresses while their feet sink in the mud?

The answer to all of the those, of course, is no.

”I have talked to other people and told them if we go down, it affects the band, the cheerleaders and the community,” Rush said. ”Most of our cheerleaders play volleyball, so they can’t cheer at those.

”The band has its competitions, but there’s nothing like Friday Night lights.

”There’s not going to be anything for the community to do, either. Football games have always been a big social gathering.”

Football will continue to be just that in several Wetzel County communities this fall, and it’s a downright shame those at Hundred wishing to still be a part of that will not get that chance.

Unfortunately for the Hornets it’s probably too late for the SSAC to amend the rule for this season, but it can right a wrong in the future. There are a lot of small towns throughout our great state that are – or soon will be – going through a similar situation.

No time like the present to make sure we do well by our student-athletes.

SSAC, you’re on the clock. Please don’t let it run out on another community.

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