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An altercation on the field as well as off marred Oliver Springs’ season ending loss against Monterey.
Ramifications from those altercations became a little worse Tuesday as the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) handed down penalties to both schools involved.
“The TSSAA wanted to let us know that it is inappropriate to have this type of incident on the field or in the stands,” Oliver Springs Athletic Director Tony Ingram said. “Member schools are responsible for the actions of not only their players and coaches, but their fans as well. That’s why they felt penalties were due.
“We actually took action by self-assessing the incident and we recommended penalties to the TSSAA. They accepted what we recommended.”
Two players were ejected during the initial on-the-field incident. Both are seniors and play spring sports. Those players will be suspended two games during the spring season.
Four other players, two seniors and two underclassmen, left the sidelines during the incident.
The underclassmen received suspensions that will take place next season. One received a two-game suspension while one will miss one game.
The two seniors that left the sidelines do not play other sports and will be banned from other Oliver Springs sporting events until Jan. 1, 2014.
A seventh Oliver Springs player, an underclassman, was ejected was ejected later in the game for a separate incident and will serve a one game suspension at the beginning of the 2014 season.
“It was kind of blown out of proportion,” Ingram said of the on-the-field altercation that lasted only a few seconds. “When you view the tape, you’re hard-pressed to actually find anybody throwing punches. But we understand TSSAA’s rules and accept responsibility. We don’t plan any kind of appeal.”
As far as the fans that were involved in off-the-field incidents, those fans are also banned from any Oliver Springs sporting events until Jan. 1, 2014.
Those incidents, however, might have been avoided if not for a strange setup that had fans of both teams sitting on the same side of the field. The game was played at Tennessee Tech University due to Monterey being in the process of building a new school. Tennessee Tech only opened one half of Tucker Stadium for spectators.
“You should be able to sit near opposing fans at a game and act responsibly, but at the same time you have to be prepared,” Ingram said. “In hind sight, the fans probably should have been separated a little better.”
Other than player suspensions, the Oliver Springs football program received one year TSSAA probation and was fined $1,000. The fine was broken down into $500 for players/adults leaving the sideline along with an additional $500 for being placed on probation.
The probation, however, did not include a postseason ban for next year and football was the only sport affected.
Ingram hopes the school doesn’t have to deal with anything like this in the future.
“We’ll try to be proactive,” he said. “Our players and fans have to know that this cannot happen again. A fan can actually hurt a program as bad as a kid or coach and we want everybody to know this.”
Monterey also turned in penalties that were accepted by the TSSAA. The Wildcats will have one player suspended for Friday’s TSSAA Class 1A playoff game against Fayetteville. Monterey also received one year probation and $1,000 in fines.