Earlier in November, we reported on the sudden forfeit of a thrilling Port Neches-Groves (Texas) High School victory against Crosby (Texas) High School because of a coach’s use of an iPad. It now appears Port Neches may not have been the only one.
According to a Houston Chronicle report, Hightower High School (Missouri City, Texas) has decided to forfeit two games from its victorious district slate after it was determined that it used “illegal technology in the press box during six of the Hurricanes’ seven district games.”
With a direct reference to the iPad scandal at Port Neches, it’s pretty clear that is code for “someone was using an iPad” or something very similar.
In Hightower’s case, the two forfeits are games against Foster and Angleton, both of which it had already lost. Despite a 3-7 record, Hightower is still scheduled to open the playoffs Friday, so the alleged cheating won’t have any impact on that.
It may, however, have an impact on the program’s future. According to the Chronicle, Hightower head coach Padriac McGinnis will be “relieved of his duties,” and it’s likely a number of his assistants will follow suit.
The bigger question is whether the use of illegal technology in press boxes or on sidelines in the Lone Star State is more rampant than anyone knew. This marks two technology-based cheating incidents in two weeks in a single, relatively concentrated geographic area. If there are two, there are almost certainly more that have gone unnoticed, unidentified or unreported.
And, if the illegal use of iPads in high school football is more significant than currently known, is it possible that maybe it’s time to reassess why their use is illegal? Is it an access issue, or one of bad behavior? Given the prevalence of tablets across the NFL and college football, why is their use still not allowed at the prep ranks?
It’s a valid question, and one which the Port Neches and Hightower programs would probably love to raise right about now.