SAN DIEGO — Athletes who plan to run, jump or swim for their high schools this spring will find for the first time that they must sign a Code of Ethics before they are eligible to do so.
Tuesday at the County Office of Education, the Board of Managers voted unanimously to accept an "Ethics In Sports," policy that standardizes penalties for violence on the playing field. It includes a policy statement, a code of ethics for players, coaches and officials, and lists several violations and their subsequent penalties.
Approval of the plan by the Board of Managers marks the end of a year-long study throughout the San Diego Section by coaches, athletic directors, administrators, leagues and several committees. Inquiries into such a policy began with Commissioner Kendall Webb's concerns over instances of violence during the 1988-89 soccer season, and a bench clearing brawl during the 3-A baseball championship between Mt. Carmel and Helix on June 1.
"There was increased concern with the conduct on the field, with negative behavior, abusive language, violence, fights and rough play," Webb said at the time. "It came to the point that we said we should be doing something."
The board vetoed the policy on the first motion that stated, on the first ejection, the principal at the home school could take an appeal from a coach, review the case and accept or reject the appeal and reinstate the player's eligibility.
Several board members were uncomfortable with the appeal clause, saying it put too much pressure on a principal to make decisions about the eligibility of an athlete based on third-hand information, and in the period of 48 hours. They also said that potential gray areas--what's violent and what's not--were a concern.
A second motion excluded the appeal process to the principal on the first offense, and passed unanimously but did state that in the case of a second ejection, the principal could appeal the case to Webb, who would make the final decision.
The policy allows officials to eject players and coaches for as little as one game and up to the remainder of the season, depending on whether it is a repeat offender.
The board's approval comes after the Jan. 10 meeting of the Coordinating Council, which made minor revisions but passed the earlier recommendations of the Ethics and Ad Hoc committees.