Wednesday January 23, 2013

I read with interest the Jan. 20 letter of Jack Spencer regarding one-sided basketball games. Let me go through it so that we are all on the same page.

First of all, since Mr. Spencer felt it necessary to zero in on St. Joseph, let us be clear. The athletic director and coach at Westfield Vocational, knew, or should have known, the skill level of their team when they scheduled the game. They also knew, or should have known, that St. Joseph was the runner-up in the Div. III State Tourney last year and lost only three players from that team. They scheduled the game with St. Joseph anyway. Even parents from WVTHS knew this, as one specifically asked "This team was in the state final game last year right? "We’re not very good. This is going to be one-sided."

Mr. Spencer goes on to say that there should be a mercy rule. Maybe a good idea, I guess, but where do you draw the line in basketball? Twenty points first quarter? Thirty at half-time? There have been 30 point leads blown in games in this county more than a couple times. That would be a tough one to decide, but not impossible I guess.

Then, Mr. Spencer gets to the coach. "Coaches could also hold down the score." Really? How? I ask Mr. Spencer to share his vast coaching experience and tell us how to do that, without violating an ethical point and at some levels a legal one (point shaving).


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Do you tell your team (the bench players who are in the game by now) to take repetitive shot clock violations? Make all of your passes directly to the other team (See point shaving)? Make your passes out of bounds? Deliberate fouls? Is this not akin to pointing at the opposing team and say we’re trying to make you look better? In addition, some of these would create false statistics that could affect the ability of some players to play at a higher level.

I certainly agree that a 100 point win is not the best thing in the world. But before you fry a team or a coach, remember that the game was scheduled and agreed to by the coaches and athletic directors on both sides.

If anyone has a good answer to this, please let the MIAA know. BRUCE STUMP

Pittsfield