Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Ethical or Not?
When we play another team, if one player on the other team is grabbing our player's jerseys so it is tough for them to cut or get open- that is a violation of the rules. If the referee does not call that as a foul because they don't see it happen- it becomes a competitive advantage for the other team. If one player on the opposing team does this, you feel like it must be something the player learned "on the playground." If mulitple players are grabbing jerseys, you begin to wonder whether the opposing coach is ignoring the player's behavior or perhaps if the opposing coach is actually teaching them how to break the rule and not get caught. If the coach is teaching this behavior- is it ethical behavior?
If a coach knows what the IHSA's rules are in regards to residency and eligibility but they allow a player who does not live in their community to play-- is it ethical behavior? Several years ago we had a player whose family was involved in a complicated divorce with one parent living in one community and one living in another. The IHSA ruled the player was eligible to play for Galesburg, but on the ruling, it finished by saying it was up to our school to make sure the situation was both accurate and that it remained the situation thoughout the year. In other words they told us it was our ethical duty to make sure the player's living situation was true as stated. It is frustrating then when there are schools who are very successful in a sport and sometimes do very well in a state series with players who are acknowledged not to live in that community.
The theme of this essay came to me as I was watching tape of a possible opponent. As I was watching, I noted that consistently the team was getting offensive rebound after offensive rebound on missed free throws. My first reaction was that the opposing team was not very good blocking out. But after it happened repeatedly, I slowed down the tape. The players are supposed to wait until the ball touches the rim. I started to put the tape into slow motion, and then to pause the action when the ball was two feet from the rim. Consistently not just one player, but multiple players from this team were 3-4 feet into the lane and the ball was two feet from the rim.
I had a flash back that this "getting in early" had happened to us once before in my career. I remember at a meeting with refs before the game, trying to plant a seed by saying, "Can we get in the lane before the ball hits the rim on a ft?" The opposing coach and the opposing players immediately looked at each other and smiled. I knew at that moment it was a taught behavior. That particular coach was teaching his players to violate the rules of the game in order to game a competitive advantage.
Is doing something like this unethical? I would argue where you are purposely teaching a player to violate a rule with the hope it will increase your chances of winning that you are involved in unethical behavior. Think about it, is this a lesson that you want athletes to take with them into adult life and their careers? Do you want some of them to grow up to be an accountant who takes the view,"This is a way to make money and I won't get caught."
Posted by Massey Basketball