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School Fined $1,000 For Football Coach Using Opponent’s Play Sheet

November 19, 2010 / Football
Bristol Press (Conn.)

SOUTHINGTON — The CIAC Board of Control announced a series of sanctions imposed on the Southington football program and coach D.J. Hernandez in connection with Hernandez’s admitted use of a play sheet dropped by a Manchester player during an Oct. 22 game.

The sanctions, including a $1,000 fine levied against the school, were decided upon at a Thursday meeting of the board after it reviewed information provided by both schools, according to a release from the CIAC.

Hernandez must also attend a Sportsmanship/Ethics in coaching class prior to the start of next season, and the football program will be on probation through next year, meaning any future violations could land the Blue Knights in real hot water.

Southington, however, doesn’t see that happening.

“He’s a coach of character. We trust him,” Southington Superintendant of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi said. “He has the trust of the administration and the schools and the superintendent of schools.”

Southington had previously suspended Hernandez for one game. The first-year head coach missed Southington’s 52-13 win over East Hartford last Friday.

Hernandez used the sheet for just four plays during a drive that the Indians scored on, according to a statement put out by Southington on Nov. 8. He also expressed regret and told Southington officials there would be no further misconduct.

“Coach Hernandez holds himself accountable for his actions and accepts his consequence,” SHS principal Martin Semmel said in last week’s statement. “The Administration has complete confidence in Coach Hernandez.”

The incident sparked a nationwide debate over ethics in coaching, particularly at the lower levels. Many felt that while what Hernandez did, picking up the card dropped by a player and using it to signal his defense as to what plays Manchester would run, was acceptable in the professional ranks, it wasn’t befitting the role model stature of a high school coach.

“It’s what we call ethics between coaches and good sportsmanship,” Leroy Williams, the chairman of the CIAC’s football committee, told the Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s cheating per se.”


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