Comments about ‘Brad Rock: Put me in, Coach — or I'll sue’

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Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 5:45 p.m. MDT

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Provo, UT

Totally against suing obviously on these matters but it sounds like in each case there might be some concerns on how things were handled. One minute on the team, the next you're not when some athletes join the team. That isn't too good. I've never heard anyone ever getting kicked off the track and field team, even when members don't show up to practice. Most coaches are pretty lenient because many times track athletes might be doing other sports. It sounds like a personality conflict that couldn't get worked out, rather than the athlete in question didn't have any abilities. Once again I'm not sure these are "legal" issues per se but to be honest after reading the story, I could see how parents might be upset and feel that their sons weren't treated fairly. I could honestly say this isn't a shining moment for athletes or coaching.

South Jordan, UT

Having run basketball leagues for many years it is sad but true that PARENTS are destroying sports for youth. If a kid is on a team it is apparently his right to play? Sports is being destroy quickly by parents trying to live their failed dreams through their kids and it's life or death for them. Sad sad reality.

Salt Lake City, UT

It seems to me a good coach would not have to worry about this as there would be plenty of evidence to disprove any legal action. I believe a coach of any sport has an obligation to play their best players. The problem comes from politics: when parents "donate" a large sum of money, give gifts, show favoritism, to the school or coach expecting their child to play (implied or not). This does happen in the state of Utah and several coaches have been fired for ethical violations. To me a good coach sets the right boundaries with parents and students at the start of the season and does not cross those boundaries. If there is a dispute, a good coach will meet with the parents and hear their concerns. He may show film and other documentation to explain their position. A good coach motivates the players, even the players on the practice squad, to perform their best and make them feel a valuable part of the team. A good coach builds relationships with players and parents and will not avoid them. A sign of a good coach is when the players and parents all respect and love the coach.

Provo, UT

When I saw the headline, my first impression was right on! Then as you read the actual story or the cases involved it doesn't seem so black and white. That's all I'm saying. Are parents problematic in youth and high school athletics? Yes, without a doubt. But I think these two cases might not show that problem exactly. I'm not sure they have a legal case per se, but there is enough there if you read the story to be concerned that the school and coaches in question could have handled things differently.

Sioux City, IA

Having been on both sides of the equation I have some perspective. However, there isn't enough detail here to define this case.
As a coach I wonder what keeps him from showing up for practice and encouraging trhe rest of his teammates. And then it's a question of was he really better than the upperclassmen or even maybe some new transfers into the school? Did someone else improve over the summer?
As a parent you question if their is favoritism?
One of the lessons of sports is that life isn't always fair and the best talent doesn't always succeed so we have to learn to deal with inequiries and move on with our life.

Saint George, UT

By the time kids reach high school age, many parents are just frazzled and on edge from all the years and money invested in their athletic phenom. I watched this unfold as my son played baseball from 10 yrs old to a Senior in HS. From 10 yrs to about 15-16 yr old, some parents have spent and enormous amount of money on academies, club ball, personal training and other things to mold their child into a superstar. Sometimes that works, many times it doesn't. We did not spend anywhere near what other folks spent during this time, but my son had fun playing, had an outstanding HS experience and played college ball. I watched other parents during this time as their child quit playing, worked through HS or found other interests. A few were cut from playing altogether. Some of the parents had a tough time with this and accepting that their plan did not work out. You could see the stress from this on their faces as their kids friends kept playing. Many hard feelings and comments towards the school, coaches and others came from this. But sueing the school over this situation is a little overboard.

Herr Jones
Kansas City, MO

How long would HS programs exists if they followed youth sports rules? no cuts, minimum # of plays or time on the field, points don't matter, snacks at the end of the game, participation trophy at the end of the season....

Sometimes I think the European model works better. School is for learning, education and knowledge. Sports clubs (not tied to the school) are for those that want to play and compete.

I understand educators use athletics to "motivate" students to achieve average work. There are some who attend enough classes and do enough homework to barely maintain their athletic eligibility, with the belief that their athletic skills and "passing" grades will get them far in HS, or even into college.

Do away with HS sports, save the districts and tax payers tons of money, no fields and stadiums to maintain.

Provo, UT

And this is why I love the sport of Wrestling!! There is almost always a directing relationship between Effort and Results; Politics and money play take a back seat.

As for this article, I think anyone who has coached at the high school, or even Jr. high, level can attest that the amount of 'politics' being played among the parents and school officials is Ridiculous! I cringed when I read the headlines of this story, but definitely understand why this is happening. And unfortunately, the ones who suffer the most are the athletes and the coaches. If the coach doesnt 'Win', he loses his job. If he plays the better athlete, wins, but upsets the 'Big donor' parents, he loses his job. And, the better athlete ends up sitting, which in turn takes away his/her college and scholarship opportunities, which in turn keeps the truly better athlete from going on to do great things... and the problem goes on and on because of politics and money.
So, I hate that legal action is being taken, but maybe thats what needs to happen to help remove 'politics' in sports...

Sugar City, ID

When I was in HS, the basketball coach assured me that he'd put me on the team but then he, without any justification, changed his mind. I didn't fight it. I just concluded that the coach was a contemptible liar and couldn't be trusted. I've learned since then that he was more the rule than the exception. There's a lot of politics in sports. Kids have been put on teams because their father was a friend of the coach or he was the son of a school board member, etc. It isn't just a matter of who is the best at the sport. Like so many other things in life, it's not how good you are but who you know. Athletics from junior high to the pros just exposes how much cheating goes on in the name of good sportsmanship. Our society would be a lot better off if taxpayers were not forced to pay for this corrupt system through school sports.

Pleasant Grove, UT

What about when my son spends over 3000 hours of his life in active participation in his sport and is, as a coach of the sport myself, CLEARLY the better player in all measurable (and intangible) aspects of the game, the harder worker, the better student, the better athlete, is an upperclassman to alternatives, and doesn't play a LICK because the coach's son and those of his assistants play every error-filled, strike out laden inning?

Do we do nothing?

You tell me?

Sugar City, ID

re. JohnnyClutch: You prove my point. Why spend 3000 hours on a game? Your son probably would be better off if he had spent the time studying. Not criticizing you or your son but, in the long run, sports is a waste of time and money.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I couldn't disagree with you more. My son going into his senior year has a 3.91 GPA and has learned extremely valuable lessons from his participation in baseball, the least of which is certainly not self-esteem.

There's no farm to work on, nor company to work for, as he enters manhood. He's lifted weights, learned to work hard, is extremely respectful, and we've spent thousands of hours together doing something that totally bridges the generation gap.

Even if he doesn't play an inning his senior year, it was time well spent.

3000 hours is a year and a half on the job, and I will not sit back and watch Daddy coach steal the fruit of playing time from him arbitrarily.

If that makes me a "problem parent", fine.

Provo, UT

re: JSB "You prove my point. Why spend 3000 hours on a game? Your son probably would be better off if he had spent the time studying. Not criticizing you or your son but, in the long run, sports is a waste of time and money."
I completely disagree!! he didnt say his son spent 3000 hours on a 'game'. He said his son spent 3000 hours "actively participating in a sport". There's a huge difference. 3000 hours on a game is a waste. 3000 hours developing physical skills, mental strength, social skills, and learning to deal with winning and losing, is, and should be, a HUGE part of a childs development. Certainly studying is important as well... However, saying his son, or any kid, would be better off studying more is simply not true.

St.George, UT

@ JohnnyClutch

I completely understand your frustration. I am from the southern utah area, and was a 3 sport athlete in high school. I was a good enough athlete to make all the teams, but the coaches wouldnt give me the time of day in the majority of those sports. In one instance, a move in made the team, the coach started him over me without ever really seeing him play, and after 3 games he was benched and I started once again. coach never said a word to me or told me he was sorry. In another sport I was a starter, and a few days before our first game, an assistant coach took me out of the starting line up for his own son, so who had a failure of a season. I still got a good amount of playing time, but nonetheless I didnt get what was rightfully mine. I hope your son can catch a break his senior year. But, I also have learned personally that life is more than sports. Doesnt mean that its not fair, but in 5 years it will hardly even matter.

Pleasant Grove, UT

The first step is to separate sports and school at all levels. A recent NCAA report found that only a small number of universities made money on their football program, let alone all sports combined. In reality, sports are a huge money drain on schools which benefit only a small minority of students (and even does most of them no favors; most would still go to school and aren't going to get scholarships.)

get'er done
Wx, UT

My take. If we hire the best coaches most problems are minimized. I'm not saying hiring teachers is the answer, I don't believe it is, hire the best coaches possible, whether they teach or not. Much of the problem is who the Admin and the AD's hire, their buddies, their co-worker, whether they are qualified or not, if they hire bad ones, they deserve the heat. Our young ladies still get the shaft; title 9 took care of the money but not the fairness. Be honest, no lip service, hire the best. If you'd like to know if your school hires the best coach for both the girls and boys program ask the Admin to rotate the boys/girls coaches every few years, not the entire staff (assistants pitching, hitting coaches) but trade the baseball/softball and the boys/girls basketball head coaches, If the boys program gets a crappy coach, I promise no lip service in the world will save him, but they give this same coach to the girls program. Hire good coaches and it's a win-win, hire a bad one and you deserve to be sued.

Sugar City, ID

If sports is such a great character-building experience, then why not make it available to any student who wants to participate? Instead it is limited to the fortunate few who happen to have the right connections or have the unique physical gifts. But why should those who are small or not athletically gifted be prevented from participation? In junior high we had inter-murals in which we all participated and we had a great time. Then in high school only a select "elite" got to have this important character-building experience. If taxes pay for the sports programs, then everyone who wants to should be allowed to play. The present system is arbitrary and unfair. If there are 200 students capable of taking calculus, should only the top 50 students be allowed to take the class? If there are 200 students that want to play football and are willing to try hard and practice, why are only the top 40 or 50 students allowed to participate?

Bountiful, UT

Between these kind of lawsuits, concussions and the accompanying litigation, lack of funds and other issues - high school sports is headed to the European model of club teams.

hymn to the silent
Holladay, UT

Funny to hear so much about the "politics" involved in sports for kids. Yes it does exist, but parents need to stop using the P word when their kid just doesn't measure up. I can't think of any kids who played because their parents were big donors, or friends with the coach, or related to a school official. But I can think of a whole lot of parents who use that for an excuse when their kids don't play...The kids that do play are almost always the ones that work hard, and have parents that practice with them rather than complain about how "political" the system is. Teach your kids to accept what comes and make the best of it instead of trying to make all their dreams come true.

Springville, UT

This has become a comment board filled with absolute misinformation. As a high school coach (assistant and head), I can tell you that I have never even seen an athlete get playing time based on who he knows. In some cases an athlete works hard and then gets to know the coaches very well...the order of this process should be noticed. If you or you're kid does not play, then they are not the better player. That is it. In rare cases, there are two athletes who are very similar and a coach has to make a judgement call...this is where parents use the "politics" card. If you or your son are in this situation, take a look in the mirror and realize that you have not set yourself apart enough to deserve the outright starting spot. It is tough, but thus is life. Get better or get bitter, your choice. It sounds like the latter has been the default of too many.

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