A high school in Kansas took the initiative to suspend its own head soccer coach just before the state playoffs because he allegedly coached a player before the season started.
As reported by the Wichita Eagle, East coach Dylan Gruntzel was suspended for the Aces’ postseason run after the East administration self-reported a violation that focused on players who were may have been coached in the fall. The Kansas State High School Activities Association confirmed that Guntzel was guilty of coaching one of his high school players illegally in the fall club season.
A pair of KHSAA rules combine to explain why Guntzel couldn’t coach his freshman player in the fall, despite the fact that he wasn’t a certainty to make the team, as outlined by the Eagle.
First, rule 22, article 3:
“A student becomes a member of a school’s athletic squad, scholars bowl or debate team when he or she first participates in a practice session,”
Then, rule 30, article 3:
“During the school year, (a coach) may only be involved with his/her athletes in a sport during the season.
“During the school year, prior to or after season, a coach/coach’s aide may not: a. Organize or conduct practices or competitions for his/her athletes. b. Practice or compete with or against his/her athletes.”
By the handbook’s definition, the freshman was not technically a member of the East girls soccer team in the fall because he had not practiced with the team. Yet come the spring semester he was, and that made Gruntzel’s prior experience coaching him a violation.
As for the Aces, it’s early but Gruntzel’s team has somehow continued winning, without missing a beat. Or at least they did until they found themselves facing off against the state’s best. That wasn’t enough to celebrate a state title, or an ouster for a coach who appears to have made an honest mistake.