UHSAA Puts Boys Soccer on 3-Year Probation Due to Rising Ejections
The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) put the entire sport on probation for the next three years, resulting in fewer games per season and the sport will be under yearly scrutiny during that time.According to a recent story on The Standard-Examiner, the reason is due to a rising number of ejections in the sports that’s “in the realm of epic proportions in comparison to all other sports combined,” citing a letter that was sent to high school by the UHSAA labeling ejections and sportsmanship issues as a statewide problem.
Below is an excerpt from The Standard-Examiner on the UHSAA’s ruling.
“In the recorded ejections, in the 21 sports sanctioned by the UHSAA this past school year, 50% of all ejections were in Boys’ Soccer. This is unacceptable,” the letter stated.
Among hundreds of games with issues this year, the UHSAA oversaw at least two soccer state semifinal games that were marred by yellow and red cards, including the Farmington-Herriman 6A semifinal in which seven yellows and two reds were issued to Farmington and the referees needed a police escort to get off the field after the final whistle.
“Sportsmanship has been a huge emphasis for the UHSAA, with an increased focus the past (five) years. Boys’ Soccer has been in direct conflict with the goals, direction, and mission of the UHSAA,” the letter stated.
Probation means that boys soccer teams — each one in the whole state — are now allowed to play 14 matches per season instead of 16. The UHSAA staff and UHSAA Executive Committee will evaluate the status of the sport after each season.
“If the sportsmanship and ejections do not improve, further reduction in the number of contests allowed will occur,” according to the letter, which was authored by UHSAA Assistant Director Brenan Jackson, who oversees soccer.
The decision itself was made by the UHSAA’s Executive Committee in its meeting last Thursday.
The committee is a 27-person entity mostly composed of high school administrators from all over the state. Each athletic region is represented by one person, from Region 1 in Weber and Davis counties all the way to Region 23 in southeastern Utah.
Some sort of action to address rising ejections in boys soccer (along with lacrosse) has been talked about for at least the past year.
“We have been monitoring and discussing with our boards, not only the number of ejections in Boys’ Soccer, but the type of play resulting in player and coach ejections, and sometimes even school administrators,” the letter stated.
To read the full story from The Standard-Examiner, click here.