A Long Island football coach has been reprimanded after his team thrashed another high school 61-13 in a game.
Plainedge High School’s head coach, Rob Shaver, was suspended for one game after violating the local county “lopsided scores policy”.
Under the rule, coaches have to explain their winning margin to a committee if it exceeds more than 42 points.
The policy has been in place for three years and is intended to prevent poor sportsmanship.
Mr Shaver is reportedly the first to be punished under the unusual rule.
The head coach of the team who lost by 48 points told Newsday he had “no issue with how the game went” on 25 October.
“I had spoken to coach Shaver, I told him I had no issues,” South Side coach Phil Onesto said.
But the victory led to Mr Shaver being called before Nassau County’s “lopsided score committee” who were apparently left unsatisfied with his failure to substitute his first-team players despite holding a comfortable lead.
In an interview with the Newsday newspaper, Mr Shaver denied that he “ran up the score” on purpose.
“The spirit of the rule is to prevent better teams from running up on lesser programs and sportsmanship and dignity and all that stuff. I get it. That didn’t happen,” he said.
The one-game ban means he will miss his team’s final regular season game on Saturday.
The local superintendent for Plainedge High School’s district has spoken out in the coach’s defence and labelled the punishment “unjustified”.
“Who said they are experts on sportsmanship?” he asked in a public letter. “Who appointed these people to run this kangaroo court, being the judge, jury and executioners?”
But the county’s commissioner of high school football defended the policy to the New York Times newspaper.
Matt McLees said it was developed to stop “excessive scores”, which the committee felt “took away from the experience of young men playing football”.
He also said the unusual rule seems to work – with a sharp decrease in excessively lopsided scores recorded there since it came into force.