Central combats athletic suspension loophole


It is no secret that Central student athletes receive suspensions. For various reasons, it happens. What makes suspensions controversial is not the penalty itself, but rather how suspended athletes deal with it.

“(Activities warranting suspensions) could be anything from illegal use or possession of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol,” said Dan Jones, athletic director. “Ticketed for a theft, vandalism – something like that…generally more serious things.”

All this is connected to the “Code of Conduct”. This list of rules is outlined in the student handbook given out each school year. It states that for a first offense, the student must serve a suspension for 10 percent of the season and complete 20 hours of community service.

“The Code of Conduct is at the discretion of each school; they get to set their own consequences,” Jones said. “There’s no discretion on my part when someone breaks the code. It’s black and white, if it’s a violation you have to face consequences.”

Still, some athletes have found a ‘loophole’ to these rules. If they receive the suspension during the offseason of their regular sport, they could quickly join another sport. They then serve the suspension in this new sport, allowing them to return to their main sport having already paid their penalty.

“It could be looked at as a loophole,” Jones said.

To counter this, Jones and the administration have certain restrictions put into place. First and foremost, if the suspension occurs during the season, the athlete has to serve the suspension right then. That isn’t the only way they are combating the loophole.

“They have to finish that new season in good standing,” Jones said. “If you quit or get kicked off the team, it wouldn’t count. I always make the students meet with the coaches so everyone is on the same page and knows what the expectations are.”

In addition, Jones expects the athletes to be involved in their “new sports” and not just use them for suspension purposes.

“You have to take it seriously – that’s the key,” Jones said. “You have to work, show up to practices, and be part of that team.”

This suspension loophole could merit some rewards. Getting into a new sport could spark a new interest.

“We want kids to get involved,” Jones said optimistically.

Regardless of whether students choose to join a new sport to get a suspension out of the way, the athletic department is continuously looking out for their best interests.

“The bottom line is we want our students to be safe and make good decisions,” Jones said.