Taking knees on extra points, taking knees on four-consecutive downs, punting on first down, falling down intentionally with no players within 10 yards, taking intentional safeties, allowing intentional touchdowns, intentionally fumbling, throwing intentional interceptions…
These weekly outrages have come to define the CIAC’s 5-year old and much maligned Score Management Policy — colloquially known as the “Cochran Rule,” named in honor of Jack Cochran, the guy state football coaches were trying to stop from scoring 90 points in any given game.
Now, the state’s coaches are thinking about toning it down, perhaps phasing it out altogether, according to Ned Griffen of the Day.
The CIAC’s football committee will examine alternatives, specifically a running clock, when it meets next Monday.
“It’s a hot-button issue,” said Paul Hoey, the Associate Executive Director for CIAC. “There is some feeling around the table that running clock would make sense. This year, if you look at some of the scores, it would probably be a good thing to do and then talk about phasing out the 50-point rule altogether.”
“It has been a resounding success in us managing scores,” Hand coach Steve Filippone said. “The bottom line is it’s worked, but it is flawed like so many other things. … it’s much harder on us coaches than I think we ever anticipated it would be.”
Enacted in 2006, the score management policy sought to suspend coaches one game for defeating opponents by more than 50 points. The extreme legislation drew universal scourge from observers nationwide when Central football coach Dave Cadelina defeated Bassick 56-0 just weeks into that season.
Central appealed and Cadelina’s suspension was overturned. Beginning this season, the CIAC removed the automatic suspension (pending an appeal) in favor of a more liberal approach. Coaches and game officials now submit reports and a committee rules on whether the policy was violated.
Of the dozen violations, to date, only one coach has been suspended under the policy, Dan Lawrence of East Hartford in 2007, and that was because his school didn’t appeal. Otherwise, appeal rates are 100 percent.
In addition to the exotic ways coaches have employed to avoid violating the policy, another issue has come to light. It stems from Torrington’s 80-39 victory over St. Paul in Week 3.
Up big in the first half, Torrington removed its starters to avoid the 50-point barrier. However, St. Paul’s starters remained and proceeded to score four consecutive touchdowns, making it a 22-point game in the third quarter against Torrington’s limited junior varsity bench. Torrington re-inserted its starters, causing some testy moments between the coaching staffs afterward.
The Day reported a National High School Federation survey that found 30 of 50 states use a running clock anywhere beyond a 30-point margin.
But given a choice in Connecticut, the coaches chose the 50-point policy instead of a running clock — presumably because a running clock would cut down on playing time.
Filippone told The Day he’d support a running clock, “but I’m the only guy.”
WE’VE BEEN TELLING YOU THIS FIVE YEARS RUNNING YOU BUREAUCRATIC LOONIES!
A running clock, please. And if you’re so concerned with varsity playing time for your freshmen, coaches, let’s set the bar at 50 points and readjust as issues arise.
And Coach Filippone, I love ya and all, but of of course score management has been a ‘rousing success’ in keeping scores down. But so would have tying cinder blocks to the better team’s feet or — better yet — not playing the game at all. Doesn’t make it any less dumb and unnecessary.
After five years railing against this stupid, insane, politically correct piece of over-legislated garbage, here’s how I feel right now.
I’ll be at my shrink (oh, sorry, ‘behavioral specialist’) if anyone needs me: