A stoppage in play

Players disallowed to compete in their sport


Rules are instituted to ensure fairness, safety and a multitude of other necessary benefits. However, are there ever times where rules seem to be unsafe or unfair? Some rules in sports have disallowed players to compete in the very game they love to play. This could be seen as extremely unfair, depending on the conditions.

One event, from late last year, of a team being forced to sit out of competition is the Mohawk Varsity Football team. Mohawk was unable to play during most of the 2022 season due to a hazing related issue. After allegations of upperclassmen hazing underclassmen on the team, the team was awarded a suspension from the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. While many people agree that the punishment was deserved, some innocent players had to suffer  the consequence of not being able to play their sport. It could be considered unfair to those who were not involved in the hazing, as they did nothing to warrant a punishment to themselves.

“I personally believe anyone not involved should not be punished for something they did not have a part in,” junior Chase Grable said.

A recent event involving the Montour Varsity Hockey team has also seemed to cause some drama on this topic. Due to a roster issue, Montour was deemed ineligible for the 2023 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL). Montour finished in second place in the PIHL A classification’s gold division. However, due to the PIHL board’s decision to rule the team ineligible, their record suffered immensely. The roster issue, which occurred because one of the team’s goalie’s approval to play was not accounted for, caused all of the games in which this goalie played to be considered losses for the Spartans, as well as the Montour score to be erased for these games. This means that players’ individual point totals were unfairly skewed, which can be a bad look to recruiters and scouts.

“While I care more about the fact that we didn’t get to play in the playoffs, I still think that it was unfair for some of my points to be taken away. I worked very hard for every single one of those points,” Montour junior Hunter Fiedler, the team’s leading point scorer, said.

The biggest issue with this entire situation is, of course, the players not being able to compete, which they have more than earned the right to do. This especially affects the senior players who were not only looking forward to making a good run in one of the better seasons they have had in years, but now can not even finish their last year  being able to play high school hockey.

“It’s a feeling that will sting for a while. It’s unfair that other teams were in similar situations, but the league only punished us,” Montour senior David Strilka said.

Though what happened to the Montour team is unfortunate, and some may even say unfair, the players and staff of the team have handled it in a very responsible and mature fashion. Many players on the team, rather than publicly expressing their displeasure with the ruling, have posted positive things on social media, including thanking their fellow teammates, seniors and coaches. Many of the team’s members are even using this event to inspire them to come back to play even harder next season.

“It honestly just gives me more motivation to go out there and score every game during my upcoming senior season,” Fiedler said.