Monday, March 10, 2014
About six months ago, Foxcroft defeated Dexter in the Eastern C field hockey final. I wrote two blogs about the ending of that game, in which Foxcroft was given a penalty stroke in overtime because the officials ruled Dexter had too many players on the field. Foxcroft scored, and advanced to the state title game.
Here’s a link to the first blog. http://www.kjonline.com/blogs/hawkins/105902113.html
And here’s a link to the second blog: http://www.kjonline.com/blogs/hawkins/106153314.html
Steve Bell, the principal at Dexter High School, told me the Maine Principals’ Association asked the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) its feelings about the play. Bell said the MPA sent along the basis for the ruling by Shannon Whiting, the state’s rules interpreter, as well as Dexter’s interpretation of the play.
The NFHS sided with Dexter’s version, which was that there should not have been a stroke called. This isn’t really a surprise. As I wrote in the second blog above, Whiting was referencing rules that were clearly irrelevant to the situation to support the original call.
I spoke with Elliot Hopkins, the NFHS assistant director and liaison to the field hockey rules committee. He confirmed the MPA asked the national federation for its interpretation.
I asked Hopkins if I could see the response from the NFHS about the play in question. That wasn’t happening.
“You can look in the rule book,” he replied, rather rudely.
The comments from the NFHS won’t change the outcome of the game. Bell said the school knew this all along.
“What we tried to say to the MPA from the start is, we don’t want this to happen to another team,” Bell said.
Bell also said he was grateful to MPA assistant executive director Mike Burnham for taking the time to get the interpretation of the NFHS.
“I appreciate Mike’s effort to take that to the national level,” Bell said. “A lot of times you can just bury that and say ‘sore loser’ or whatever.”
Agreed on both counts. Burnham should be commended for taking the time to make sure this situation will be handled correctly in the future, and we all should hope no team ever loses like this again.
Travis Lazarczyk has worked at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal since 2000. He covers football, basketball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tlazarmaine