TSSAA hammers Pickett County High School
By: Amanda Bond, Publisher
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association imposed heavy punishment on Pickett County High School after an incident at a basketball game against York Institute, which involved York boy players and Pickett County fans.
According to the TSSAA letter sent on Feb. 12th to both school principals, the facts of the incident the TSSAA determined and ruled on were that with 18.6 seconds left in the game, a technical foul was called on the Alvin C. York Institute head coach. A player from Pickett County was getting ready to shoot the technical foul shots when a brawl erupted on the opposite end of the basketball court. The video showed fans from Pickett County's cheering section, which was behind the visitors' team bench, pouring onto the floor and exchanging blows with Alvin C. York Institute players. Fans from the opposite side of the gymnasium ran across the floor and got involved. The game was called by the officials after order was restored.
The initial action by the TSSAA placed the Pickett County boys basketball program on restrictive probation through the 2014-2015 school year as well as individual sport probation for two calender years and a total fine of $2,250. Restrictive probation means that no post season play (tournaments) or award recognition will be allowed.
The Pickett County School Administration appealed the initial ruling and met with the TSSAA on Friday, February 14th. According to the TSSAA, the Board of Control revised the original ruling to the following:
Pickett County High School is being fined $250 for fans coming onto the floor during a confrontation. (Article I, Section 8 of the TSSAA Bylaws states, in part: Member schools are responsible for the conduct of their own fans and students at every athletic contest, regardless of where it may be held.)
The entire athletic program is being placed on probation for three calendar years from February 14, 2014 through February 14, 2017 and fined $3,000. (Article V, Section 4(2) of the TSSAA constitution states: Probation to a total athletic program shall result in a fine of $1,000 annually.) If there are any other incidents involving the athletic program during the period of probation, there will be further action.
Both boys and girls basketball programs cannot host postseason contests (first round of regional tournament and substate) during the period of probation.
The TSSAA accepted the corrective actions proposed by the administration of Pickett County High School which consists of the following:
-Students who went onto the floor to assist will not be allowed to attend any further basketball games this season. They will be on zero tolerance probation at all sporting events.
-Students who were fighting will be given three-day in-school suspension per Pickett County High School handbook, will not be allowed to attend sporting events for the rest of the school year, will be on zero tolerance probation at all sporting events.
-The Pickett County student body will not be allowed to attend the first three home ballgames plus the first additional from the stands.
-Begin "Cheering without Jeering" campaign so that students understand the importance of good sportsmanship from the stands.
-No pep buses will be taken for the remainder of the year or in the 2014-2015 school year.
-Home bench has been moved in front of student cheering section.
-Student Cheer Ambassadors will be placed in all sections of the gym to ensure good sportsmanship among fans.
-Ambassadors will report any unsportsmanlike fans or fan behavior to Pickett County Staff or the game administrator immediately.
-Additional Pickett County staff will be strategically placed throughout the gym to ensure positive cheering and to act as liaison between student cheer ambassadors and game administrator. Pickett County staff will report any unsportsmanlike fans and fan behavior to the game administrator immediately.
-Pickett County staff and game administrator will carry 2-way radios for more effective communication.
-Issue public service announcements via radio and print media as well as announcing at every ballgame that no fans are allowed on the court at any time as stated by TSSAA Bylaws.
-Multiple meetings with students to educate them on TSSAA rules specific to fans.
-Contract language will be changed to include a contact person for day of game who will provide information regarding pep club, number of students attending and who the supervising adult will be, to determine how many security guards will be necessary.
-School administration or designee will sit behind the opposing team's bench to prevent unsportsmanlike behavior.
-Ushers will be posted at all four corners of the gym to help with crowd control.
York Institute also appealed the decision and the TSSAA Board of Control upheld the original ruling of restrictive probation for the boys basketball team through the 2014-2015 school year and two years individual probation with a total fine of $2,250.