The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is cracking down on unsportsmanlike conduct.
On Monday at a PIAA Board of Directors teleconference, the state’s high school athletic governing body passed on a third reading a supplemental two-game suspension for players and coaches who are ejected for reasons including foul or vulgar language, ethnic or racially insensitive comments or physical contact.
The measures were taken to address a spike in ejections across the board with some being extremely offensive, according to the PIAA. The board moved to intensify the penalty in an attempt to curtail bad behavior before, during and after contests and to discourage misconduct toward officials.
“It will be immediate,” PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi said. “We will receive the report, because when the ejection takes place, it will be told if it was vulgar, what did (the athlete) do, was it abusive language or said this, this or this. It will carry with it the two-game suspension.
“We are hoping that this will drive the ejections down and we won’t have to worry about this issue. That would be wonderful.”
The enhanced two-game suspension also requires a coach or athlete, before returning to play, to complete an online NFHS Sportsmanship program, and a coach disqualified may not return to representing his/her school until also completing the Teaching and Modeling Behavior program through the NFHS.
The decision to eject is final, according to Lombardi. A coach or athlete can appeal, but only for a misidentification of a player or a misapplication of a rule.
“It’s not a misapplication of an interpretation of a rule,” Lombardi said. “It’s not that I don’t agree with the way he interpreted that or I don’t agree with the way he called it. That’s the judgement of the official.”
Players of coaches will be notified at the game of the reason for ejection and the PIAA will follow up within 24 hours after receiving the game report.
Joby Fawcett has covered high school sports — including football, girls and boys volleyball, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys swimming, boys basketball, girls and boys track and field, and girls and boys lacrosse — for 22 years. The High School Sports Blog offers deeper insights plus statistical and historical information for fans and features photos, videos and graphics along with Top 5 polls for tennis and volleyball. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5367; @sportsTT