The CIAC has recently announced new legislation that enables it to punish coaches of member schools who publicly criticize basketball referees.
The rule, which goes into effect immediately, comes on the heels of Hillhouse boys basketball coach Kermit Carolina’s berating of officials following a close victory (yes, victory) over Xavier in Middletown last month.
According to the new legislation, already dubbed the ‘Kermit Rule’ by at least one media outlet covering the Academics, schools are fined $250 and the offending coach is suspended after the first offense. In a second offense, the coach is suspended for two games and the school fined $500.
A third offense means the offending coach is disqualified for the rest of the season and the school is fined $750.
Should the third offense come at or near the end of the season, the coach will be suspended for a minimum of five games. If the season ends before that five-game suspension is completed, it will be carried into the next season.
With each infraction, the CIAC also requires a report from offending school’s administration on how they are handling the situation.
To be fair, and (hopefully) to prevent overzealous enforcement by king CIAC, there is a public appeals process in place.
I’ve heard good arguments for and against the new policy.
Since I believe open criticism of referees is wrong, that it goes against everything we should be teaching our student athletes, I believe this policy is — in fact — the correct way to go.
Yes, it can be invasive, much like the CIAC’s 50-point policy is over school administrations. Would we much rather have this handled in-house? Yes.
But the lines can get blurred around a school’s supposed objectivity. Maybe an athletic director believes his coach was justified in making critical comments and won’t take any hard-line action. Or maybe they simply don’t believe action is necessary at all.
In any case, I believe a third-party should needs to intervene in these cases. Any problems a coach or athletic director or principal has with certain referees or officials boards must be handled behind closed doors; so when we walk onto the field or into a gymnasium, our participants can maintain an even greater degree of integrity and sportsmanship, instead of squabbling over who might have gotten screwed by whom.
Besides, if you believe your team has been so egregiously harmed by the actions of a referee, you’re still welcome to let us know. You’ll just have to pay to do it.