“Score Management,” otherwise known as the CIAC’s 50-point rule, in which coaches are subject to a one-game suspension if their teams beat an opponent by more than 50 points, will have the spotlight pointed on the FCIAC, more specifically Stamford High School, on Monday.
And if Black Knights coach Bryan Hocter could cast the deciding vote, Norwich Free Academy’s Jemal Davis would be suspended following his team’s 51-0 non-league win Saturday.
“I think he should be,” Hocter said in a very candid interview Sunday afternoon. “The guy’s got no class. The thing that irritates me is his arrogance.”
Based on the evidence, there is a very good chance Davis will become just the second coach suspended when a verdict is delivered, likely Monday afternoon, by a four-person review committee.
First the background: As the New London Day’s Mike DiMauro reported, and Hocter reiterated Sunday, one of the game officials asked him with about 10 minutes remaining and NFA leading, 42-0, whether he wanted to play the remainder of the contest with a running clock.
“I told him no, we were going to take our beating like men,” Hocter said Sunday. “But it was 42-0 and they were running all these sweep motions left and right.”
Hocter said that NFA continued to play its starters, and Marcus Outlow’s 11-yard touchdown run made the score 49-0.
“They were running jet sweeps back and forth and that’s an explosive play,” Hocter said. “You are trying to get to the edge.”
NFA’s final points came on a blocked punt that went for a safety with 3:25 remaining. Hocter was angry about the play on Saturday, and more so, he said, after reviewing game film on Sunday.
“They came after the punt, and at no time before did they go after the punt,” Hocter said.
Davis told The Day, “I understand his disapproval. He didn’t say anything to me. We were in punt safety and one of the kids didn’t listen to what we said. I don’t think that’s the kid’s fault. His job is to make sure the punt is blocked. He blocked it. We’ve got rules and regulations we have to adhere to. When we don’t, there are penalties. I respect that. And we move on.”
Hocter said during the postgame handshake Davis never made eye contact with him. “He never looked at me,” Hocter said. “The guy actually has no class whatsoever. The guy was 100 percent wrong and he knows he’s wrong.”
Hocter had an interesting take on Davis’ possible motivation: “The way I took it, I think he was saying (bleep) to the CIAC,” using the letters of an expletive phrase.
Hocter said he is not a fan of score management because it forces teams to do things like taking a knee and not trying. Since the rule is in place, Hocter said that Davis should be forced to miss NFA’s game next week at Bacon Academy.
“What he did was totally unnecessary,” Hocter said.
Now the question is what will the CIAC do. It had to deal with the situation last week, when Joel Barlow coach Rob Tynan was absolved following a 56-0 win over Immaculate.
Since the rule was enacted — to public ridicule — in 2006, only one coach has been suspended: East Hartford’s Dan Lawrence, because his school did not appeal.
Actually, unbeknownst to many, according to Matt Fischer, the CIAC’s director of information services, there is no longer an appeal process. Fischer said on Sunday that in all instances of a possible violation, both schools are required to submit reports within 48 hours of the end of a game. Then the situation is reviewed by a panel that includes Paul Hoey, the CIAC’s associate executive director, Leroy Williams, the chairman of the football committee, and representatives from both the coaches’ association and the athletic directors’ association.
Hocter said he will talk Monday with Stamford athletic director Jim Moriarty. Hocter said he is unfamiliar with the process because he has never gone through it before, and Moriarty has been in his new position for just four months.
One reason there has only been one suspension is because losing teams have been supportive that the opposing coach was not purposely trying to run up the score. Stamford’s report, unless Hocter has a dramatic change of heart, is going to be different.
If you go by the letter of the law, the guess here is that Davis will become the second coach suspended, and score management will again be put under the microscope, perhaps like it never has been before.
And that would be a good thing. Perhaps, finally, the needless rule will finally be abolished. Because, as I’ve repeated endlessly whenever score management has been discussed, you cannot legislate class.