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Is New York Taking the Fun out of Football?

What is fair about making a winning team stop doing their best?

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A high school football coach in Nassau County, New York, was suspended (made to stop working) for one game. He was punished because he let his team score over 42 points more than another team. Ron Shaver, coach of the Plainedge High Red Devils, was accused of breaking a rule that is supposed to stop football teams from embarrassing each other.

The Red Devils were playing the South Side High School Cyclones – both are good team that had been undefeated. According to Nassau’s “Section 8 Lopsided Score Committee,” you can win a game – but not by more than 42 points. A fourth quarter touchdown by the Red Devils brought the score to 61-13, which broke the rule by six points.

Plainedge Public School Superintendent Edward Salina said:

“I can state for the record that their rule is not working. I am all for treating everyone justly, but … What are you teaching children by saying play fairly but now you are playing too well, don’t play anymore for the rest of the game? Where’s the life lessons?”

Coach Rob Shaver

Even the coach of the Cyclones, Phil Onesto, agreed.

The one game suspension had coach Shaver on the sidelines as his team took on the Lynbrook Owls. By the third quarter, the Red Devils had a 36-0 lead, and then they simply were forced to do what the “lopsided Rules Committee” said. They stopped playing their best.

The rule was made so that teams would not be embarrassed to be defeated badly, but it that a good reason to hold better teams back? Are these inclusion rules damaging athletics?

Sarah Cowgill

National Columnist at and Sarah has been a writer in the political and corporate worlds for over 25 years. As a sought-after speech writer, her clients included CEOs, U.S. Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and even a Vice President. She’s worked as Contributing Editor at Scottsdale Life, a news reporter for the Journal and Courier, and guest opinion political writer for numerous publications nationwide. A born storyteller, Sarah has published a full-length book and is currently finishing a quirky, sarcastic, second novel.

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