TSSAA overturns Carson's penalty

TSSAA overturns Carson's penalty

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TSSAA overturns Carson's penalty

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Eagleville football coach Steve Carson had a one-game suspension and $250 fine lifted following his successful appeal of a football official’s misinterpretation of the rules that led to his ejection during Friday night’s one-point loss to Collinwood.

Carson was ejected during the second quarter after receiving an unsportsmanlike penalty. That came after an Eagleville assistant had been given an unsportsmanlike penalty.

“About halfway through the second quarter, an assistant got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,” Carson said. “There was no warning, he just got one. Later in the second quarter, I got an unsportsmanlike penalty. They ejected me.

“I asked why I was being ejected and he said because I only had one unsportsmanlike penalty. He said, ‘No, the one on the assistant coach goes to you. You’ve got to go.”

However, that was not the rule. Coaches are ejected after they receive two unsportsmanlike penalties. The unsportsmanlike penalty to the assistant doesn’t apply to the coach.

Carson said the rulebook gives three examples where a “non-contact, non-player unsportsmanlike can go to the coach. And taking the assistant’s isn’t one of them.”

TSSAA assistant director Gene Menees said the rule is not “black and white” and leaves open for interpretation. However, the TSSAA overturned the suspension and fine because it is left for interpretation.

Menees compared the incident to basketball. A technical foul called on an assistant on the bench goes toward the head coach and forces him to sit down the rest of the contest. But that isn’t the case in football.

Eagleville lost the game 37-36 to fall to 1-3 for the season. The Eagles play at 7 p.m. Friday at Community (1-3, 0-1) in a key District 9-A contest.

No penalty or punishment will be given toward the official for his lack of knowledge of the rule, said Menees. The TSSAA may clarify the rule when it sends out its weekly email to referee assigners across the state.

This marks the second time in as many years where the TSSAA has admitted that an official misapplied the rules in a game involving a Rutherford County team. In the first round of the 2011 Class 6A playoffs, the referees did not know the overtime rules in Smyrna’s two-overtime loss to Franklin. Franklin was given the football last on both possessions, despite the rules stating that it should be flip flopped after each overtime.

The TSSAA did not discipline the playoff crew after it acknowledged the error.

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