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Editorial: NMAA wrong to penalize players more than a coach

So under the New Mexico Activities Association’s rationale, if an adult violates recruiting rules, it’s worth a one-week suspension. If students follow his lead and put down false addresses that allow them to play for him, it’s worth a season on the bench.

Talk about an uneven score.

Volcano Vista High School football coach Chad Wallin has said he will not appeal his punishment, which includes the homework assignment of creating a PowerPoint presentation of NMAA bylaws and showing it to various groups. And while his punishment may be appropriate, the association’s punishment equation does not factor in the difference in maturity and responsibility of adults vs. children, the influence of an authority figure or simple fairness.

While Wallin won’t be on the field with Volcano Vista until Aug. 11, some of the then-eighth-grade students at the YAFL meeting where he violated bylaw 7.3 could be forced to ride the bench for the entire 2014-15 season. If the students (likely with the knowledge/encouragement of their parents) did indeed falsify addresses to play for Volcano Vista they certainly should face consequences. But the fact remains Wallin was busted for “undue influence of a student by a coach.” Isn’t an adult’s actions that lead a 13-year-old to lie as bad as or worse than a teen putting down a false address to play ball?

NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez says her group investigated the drama “in order to make sure our schools have a level playing field.” NMAA should apply that same standard to players and coaches – and if anyone has to work a little harder to get a call in their favor, it should be the adults in the equation.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.


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