Parents Charge Texas High School Football Coach With Bullying After His Team Beat Rival By 91-0

23751250_BG1Since we have been discussing the Jets-Patriots brawl, we might as well add a story out of Texas where a coach is facing a charge of “bullying” because his team, Aledo High School, beat Western Hills High School by 91-0. Tim Buchanan will now have to answer for his actions after various parents filed complaints that he allowed his team to do so well. I find this type of objection to be mystifying. I have four kids in sports. I feel bad when they lose but I tell them that you do your best and try harder next time. Moreover, I am not sure what this coach is supposed to do. He has a really good team. Are they supposed to intentionally ground the ball? I think the demeaning thing is not losing to a better team but having your parents demand that they let you score.

Buchanan said that he took out his first string players in the first quarter and went to the second string and then went to his third string. They kept scoring. It was no surprise. His team is 7-0. and has scored 77 points or more in their last four games. They are really good, alright? I agree with Buchanan when he insists “I’m not gonna tell a kid that comes out here and practices six to seven hours a week trying to get ready for football games.’Hey, you can’t score a touchdown if you get in, you’re gonna have to take a knee,’ cause that may be the only touchdown that kid gets to score in his high school career.”

Yet, parents believe that he is unsportsmanlike in not somehow stopping his kids from scoring. It is the type of attitude that I find so bizarre among parents today. We have previously discussed how new guidelines demand that all kids get awards at award ceremonies. I have sat through such events where dozens of kids get the “best for trying award” or the equivalent to avoid any one kid or group of kids from being singled out. I am not sure how that prepares them for life. There are going to be people who are better at things than they are. Better athletes, better students, better artists. They need to learn to accept defeat as well as victory.

The kids at Western Hills were against a better team. Aledo is the top ranked team in the state for its division. I am sure they knew that. I am also sure that they could handle the defeat. It was the parents who seem incapable to maintaining perspective and want to manipulate games artificially to achieve “better results.”

I do believe that coaches should pull their top players in lopsided games and Buchanan says that is precisely what he did. However, it is not unsportsmanlike or bullying to play a game to a lopsided conclusion. It is called life. This is just one of its lessons.

58 thoughts on “Parents Charge Texas High School Football Coach With Bullying After His Team Beat Rival By 91-0”

  1. If your team is good enough for third stringers to score easily, you call the game off – or at least, that’s what civilized people would do. Most kids’ baseball leagues have a “mercy” rule and so do some football leagues. All leagues should have it to protect the players, especially since they are kids.

    Remember the game in 2012 in the Boston area where FIVE kids between ages 10-12 suffered concussions, with a final score of 52-0? That league DID have a mercy rule (28 points), but the referees, coaches and parents ignored the score and ignored the concussions, wanting the game to continue while kids were being beaten up. The losing team couldn’t field enough players in the fourth quarter, and the game STILL continued, and the losing coach wanted his players to “take something away from the game”. The only thing that was taken away was their desire to play, or their ABILITY to play. Some kids missed long periods of school, many have not played sports since then because they can’t.

    Why aren’t the leagues and teams segregated into divisions, to have teams of similar talent playing each other? In college football, teams never play levels further than one away from their own (e.g. I-A vs. I-AA, Division III vs. NAIA, etc.) And even if safety and equal competition weren’t a concern, what sort of scumbag takes glee in beating a team by that score? How insecure and pathetic does someone have to be to schedule and play teams with that don’t even belong on the same field?

    There’s no glory in victory if there’s no risk of defeat.

  2. I disagree with the majority view here and I’ve been in this situation. I played in a lacrosse league for ages (I think) 10-15. My team had a large group who were all the same age and started playing together at 10. When we were all 15 we were so much better than every other team that most games were a slaughter.

    Running up the score is poor sportsmanship in all sports and should be avoided, particularly when children are involved. The justification for sports is to teach sportsmanship and that winning and loosing can be done with honor. Running up the score teaches that the powerful can do what they want.

    The team did not do all that they could to avoid running up the score. On my team, when the game was decided in the first quarter we would put in the 2nd or 3rd string (i.e. me) and then swap positions around. On one or two occasions our coach told us to help and coach the opposing players during the game.

    In business, war, and other ‘adult’ occupations, when you are profoundly overmatched you give up early. You can’t do this in sports. The loosing team had no alternative but to continue to hopeless humiliation for the full duration of the game.

    That being said, to make any kind of official complaint about poor sportsmanship is absurd.

  3. I used to be sad that I got no trophies in school like the other kids, until I got one. I got it for basically “best try” or “on the team” or something dumb like that. I knew it was crap, and I wasn’t proud of it. That was in the late ’70s. I’m sorry that we’ve gone even more in that direction. It’s better to learn how to lose gracefully.

  4. nick – running wouldn’t help. It says in the actual article that they ran 6 times, 4 of which led to touchdowns.

  5. Dads tend to GENERALLY get what you just said, better than moms. Kudo’s ddickerson.

  6. I have written about this topic before and this whole “everybody wins” mentality makes me ill! Part of being a member of a sports team is overcoming lose. You learn how to win and lose with dignity! You should be upset when you lose! You should immediately do some self searching to find out how to improve! These parents are ruining life lessons for their kids, taking away from them the tools that will help them when they are older.
    This coach did everything he could do to lesson the competition. If I were on the opposing team, I would prefer to get beat by the best they have to offer. Humiliating would be to have the stronger team take a knee or intentionally mess up.
    Parents, let your kids struggle and overcome! They will be better equipt when they grow up to handle lifes ups and downs! You are teaching your kids to wuss out when things are not dandy! An award for “best try” should not exist. Best attitude, MVP, Most aggressive, Highest scorer…definitely! There is no try, do or do not!

  7. In baseball, just prior to the slaughter rule being invoked, I would tell my players to not steal. They were to do EVERYTHING else @ full tilt, but no stealing. I would invoke that rule in the 4th inning when we were up by over the aforementioned slaughter rule benchmark. I didn’t invent that. It’s standard face saving all the way up to MLB. In football, you don’t throw long passes, run most every play. I had kids on my baseball teams who were pissed about not being able to steal. And, that’s where coaching becomes MUCH more important than teaching a kid how to bunt, hit the cutoff, etc. That’s where you teach kids empathy and respect for their opponent.

  8. This is BS…. Aledo has a great team…. Penalize them for playing great is like the craziest thing I have ever heard….

  9. As randyjet said, if the coach emptied his bench what are you going to do. Tell kids who practice and never get to play to play half speed? That’s a HORRIBLE message! In high school softball and baseball and in American Legion baseball, which I coached for years, there is what is known unofficially and indelicately as the “slaughter” rule. If it’s the 5th inning, and your team is up by 10, 12, 15, runs[I’ve seen all 3 benchmarks], then the game is over. at the end of 3 quarters in football, if the score is say, 45-0, game over. I have never heard of a “slaughter” rule in football. Mespo, paging mespo!!

  10. I agree 100% with you Prof. Turley. We need to reward success, not punish it.

    If they want to blame a coach, blame the coach of the losing team. If they don’t want such a big win, that coach could have forfeited the game anytime he wanted, but perhaps that would have been considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

    It really comes down to what Prof. Turley said. Big wins and big losses are part of life.

  11. Football is not a gentlemen’s sport. America is not a country of gentlemen. It seems the parents are not very good examples of sportsmanship either. It could have been a teaching moment, but then generally speaking, lip service is about as deep as it goes.

    My husband gets furious when college teams run up the score. Especially if it affects rankings. It wouldn’t hurt to have made some allowances. But then the adage from Lombardy that “winning is everything,” is how we live in sports. Maybe we should redefine winning. But then fanatics might go on strike, and the owners of the pros…..well, you know!

  12. when I was in high school, we were beating the snot out of a lesser opponent. everybody on the team had played and they couldn’t stop us. we started running the same off tackle run at half speed over and over. the other team just quit and the play kept working. coach put the starters back in and the quarterback started throwing out of bounds every play which stopped the clock and slowed the game down. finally we put the scrubs back in and they ran up the score even worse running very vanilla running game that a decent team could have easily defended. there is no good answer to a situation like this. maybe football needs a “ten run rule” like girls softball….

  13. As long as the coach gave his bench all the playing time after the score was so lopsided, there was no foul or poor sportsmanship. There is no cause for complaint here.

  14. Lol! Yeah, Prof, JT! But your kids never lost 91-0! LOL! Who was the winners’ QB? PEYTON MANNING!???

  15. In pro ball and some college ball they call it “running up the score”:

    In North American sports, “running up the score” occurs when a team continues to play in such a way as to score additional points after the outcome of the game is no longer in question and the team is assured of winning. In the United States and Canada, it is considered poor sportsmanship to “run up the score” in most circumstances.

    (Wikipedia). One good way to avoid it is to take out first string players and give some of the bench some time on the field.

  16. Would the whiners prefer the Bearcats had taken a knee at the 1 yard line, and then just rang up safeties against them?

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