Just a quick note on our notebook item on Amity coach Mike DeVito issue, which appeared in New Haven County editions and online here (DeVito will coach), but not in Fairfield County editions.
I wasn’t there, but from what I gather DeVito’s appeared to pick up a second unsportsmanlike penalty at halftime and was ejected from last week’s Guilford game.
But Devito, who is a Woodbridge police officer (Officer Mike, we called him during D.A.R.E. assemblies in the 1990s), will not miss tonight’s Shelton game, per Federation rules on two unsportsmanlike penalties–because the game officials reported back to their board that an assistant coach and not Devito picked up the second penalty. They just asked Amity AD Paul Mengold to remove DeVito from the sidelines.
Now, this sounded fishy when I heard it first explained. But I do believe that DeVito’s reinstatement to me was harmless revisionism in the interest of cooler heads prevailing over a heated situation.
I have no problem with a referee staff and athletic directors getting together to soothe an otherwise explosive situation. In the interest of being educators and adults on the high school level, defusing a situation by politely agreeing to remove a coach from the sidelines–as we’re told was the case–is much better than ejecting him. Point made, consequences avoided.
The only problem I have is that this sets a precedent for others to start bending the rule. Other coaches in the league will have a legit beef if they’re tossed for picking up two unsportsmanlike penalties and then ask, why am I officially getting tossed when DeVito got unofficially tossed for the same reason? How is that fair? Was there favoritism involved? Etc, etc.
The facts are the facts. DeVito missed the second half and Amity kicked off after getting hit with a 15-yard penalty that appeared to be levied on DeVito. But he wasn’t officially ejected.
Maybe this gives coaches a green light to be complete nut jobs on the sidelines knowing they can appeal, which makes referees’ jobs harder in deciding whether to penalize or not.
Either way, a clear-cut Federation rule (two flags, or an ejection, and you’re out next week) suddenly is open to unnecessary interpretation.
We have rules and either we follow them, or we change the rule. There’s no in between. Otherwise what’s the point of rules.
Food for thought.
(By the way, all of the Amity coaches were my teachers in high school. Just so everyone knows.)