Wednesday, December 10, 2008

High School Diplomas and Hoop Dreams

There's a line from an old Boomtown Rats song: "Someone told me nothing happened today." Is that what was going through the mind of the assignment editor of the Times-Journal in Selma, Alabama, when he sent the intrepid reporter Barrett Welsh out to cover the great scheduling debacle?

Under the headline "Graduation Exam Mucks Schedule," Welsh informs his worried readers --

The Alabama High School Graduation exam wreaked havoc on several of Tuesday’s high school basketball games.

The most notable was the Dallas County-Southside matchup. The game was cancelled on Friday so players on both teams could focus on the exam.

But don't you panic now ...

“It was a scheduling oversight,” said Southside coach Cecil Brown. “It really didn’t affect us too much. We could’ve played this week. We get to play this week.”

Southside’s contest on Friday with Central Hayneville is expected to take place as scheduled.

Whew. That's a relief.

But, while the suggestion that the graduation exam was "mucking" the basketball schedule might reasonably lead one to conclude an odd set of priorities at play here, the basketball coach wishes to set the record straight.

“Because we’re under (adequate yearly progress), we’re trying not to schedule more than two games a week,” said Dallas County coach Willie Moore. “Our schools are trying to improve academically, and we just want to make sure the general public knows we’re supporting education.

“We really don’t want the folks to be on a basketball game. We want the folks to be on academics because they’ve got to have that to go off to college.”

A lesson well learned. Folks have to wait 'til college before folks can put basketball ahead of book learnin'.

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