State game denial dumb, as is Hoover response

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2007

There has been a big to-do lately about the recent denial by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for the request by Hoover High School to schedule a game on Sunday.

Of course, normally it wouldn&8217;t have blown up in the media and around sports fans in the way it has, but there have been some interesting things going back and forth between AHSAA executive director Dan Washburn and Hoover head coach Rush Propst that have fueled the fire. But I guess the best thing to do before getting to that is give the background on the controversy.

For the past two years ESPN&8217;s Kirk Herbstreit has hosted a Ohio vs. USA challenge pitting an Ohio prep school powerhouse against other teams from across the country. This year the match up was between Colerain High School and the nationally televised, courtesy of MTV, Hoover High School.

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Both of the two teams dominate the national football circuit, and the game was a away to get the two schools and their players national exposure by televising the high school bout between dynasties on ESPN2 and on opening weekend of college football no less.

As required by the state, Hoover had to make a travel request to AHSAA and get approval for the game. Coach Propst said usually such requests are a formality, so he was quite surprised when his request came back as a big fat, negative from the AHSAA.

Propst and Hoover, he said while looking at a date for the game in conjunction with ESPN and Colerain, they looked at all options to best fit everyone involved and had settled on Sunday. He said Sunday would allow for a travel day there and back for all students at the school attending, football team, band cheerleaders, ect., since they would be out of school the next Monday for a holiday as well as parents, who would only have to take off one day from to attend the match up.

But the denial from outgoing executive director Washburn laid waste to the best-made plans of Propst, Colerain and ESPN. Washburn even went as far as to cite Sunday as &8220;a day of worship&8221; in the denial.

Washburn then admitted there were no specific written rues in the AHSAA bylaws that prohibited such a Sunday match up. He went on to add that it was a policy established through practice and thus would only be changed under emergency situations, such as the Sunday make up game between two schools in the 6A semifinal baseball series postponed due to inclement weather.

Propst, understandably, was upset by the announcement that would cost his program money that would be brought in by such a game, which was to be held at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, and by the denial&8217;s ramifications on his players, who would play before a national audience gaining huge exposure that could lead to scholarships to the next level. In his irritable state he said of Washburn&8217;s decision: &8220;Its looks to me, its anti-Hoover move.&8221;

He later said the comments were taken out of context, but that brings out one of two responses the decision has elicited from those involved in the denial and its affects.

People have polarized into two camps either applauding Washburn for his decision or saying that he made it in order to bring down the school a few notches.

To me both sides are acting a little silly.

Washburn definitely crossed a line bringing religion into his decision to refuse to allow the game. Faith is not supposed to cross into public education. If students participating had made a faith-based objection that would be different, but who is Washburn to make a decision on what day religions should worship and that on such a day students should be barred from athletic events.

If he would check his Bible he would notice that the day of rest is supposed to fall on the seventh day, Saturday. Even after the move to Christianity, there is no tenet, correct me if I am wrong, in the New Testament telling folks to rest on the day that Christ ascended to heaven, so the whole not playing on Sunday thing is a null and void argument.

As for Propst, I think you might be reading a little deep into the decision, buddy. I doubt Washburn would cite religion as a reason to stop a game if he were out to get Hoover. I think God might not smile too heavily on that once ol&8217; Washburn walks through the pearly gates.

As for everyone else out there choosing sides, it is just one game that will do more good for the kids chances for being accepted to college programs, giving them a chance to play and receive an education, than missing one day of church will hurt them. And nobody is out to get Hoover, I doubt anyone cares that much (except Vestavia).

Brandon Glover is sports editor for The Times. He can be reached by e-mail to