Award of 2005 state title still leaves hole to those who participated

By Gregory Moore, Examiner.com

In February of 2009, the UIL ruled that the South Oak Cliff team that won the 2005 State 4A title must forfeit the title for using ineligible players.

In February of 2009, the UIL ruled that the South Oak Cliff team that won the 2005 State 4A title must forfeit the title for using ineligible players.

On February 27, 2009, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body for all academic and athletic activities in the state of Texas, issued a ruling in which Sam Houston High School would retroactively become the Class 4A state champion for the 2005 season.

According to the press release issued on that date, the UIL said: “After an internal investigation, Dallas ISD determined that three ineligible players participated in the state basketball tournament in 2005.  The minimum penalty for allowing an ineligible player to participate is forfeiture of those contests in which the player participated.  Dallas ISD has indicated to the UIL that they have accepted the minimum penalty, and have therefore forfeited the 2005 Conference 4A title.”

According the press release what that means is that while the 2005 Hurricanes will be called the victors, in reality it is just a hollow victory to those who participated in the game.

To those players and coaches of the Hurricanes, the achievements and accolades that go along with the victor will never be a part of their lifetime memories.

But when it comes to winning at all costs, it seems that the only way for some programs to win is to cheat.

Such is the case with South Oak Cliff out of Dallas as they are now officially stripped of the title.

This isn’t the first time that a DISD school has been stripped of a title. Dallas Carter was stripped of its 1988 state title that they won over Converse Judson. In a similar ruling, Judson was awarded the state title after it was declared by the UIL that Dallas Carter had an ineligible player in 1991.

And so here is another school looking at receiving a similar ruling from DISD and another San Antonio school is awarded a state title. While on paper that seems to be the right thing to do, why does it keep happening in Dallas ISD?

While that shouldn’t be of concern for Sam Houston or SAISD, it should be for both parents and educators alike.

If sports is supposed to be about fairness, good sportsmanship and other over used terminology about character building, how does giving the 2005 Hurricanes a “2-0” victory over Oak Cliff when in reality that wasn’t the case?

In practical sense it doesn’t.

The kids from the 2005 season deserve something more than having a hollow victory and it should be a priority of the UIL to not only hand out harsh sentences to schools and school districts who continually cheat the system but to the players who benefitted as well.

On the 2005 South Oak Cliff team, one of the players now is a millionaire while one of his teammates is a standout at Baylor University. Where is the punishment for those two players? How can anyone put the 2005 Hurricanes back in a position where they are made whole?

That is what the UIL needs to start asking itself.

It’s great that Sam Houston is getting recognition albeit it four years later.

What would have been nicer would have been an investigation three years ago in which the Hurricanes’ players, who would have been freshmen in college, to be able to savor some accomplishment as a team one season removed.

Not four years past their senior prom.

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