Tahlequah Daily Press

November 23, 2012

Sequoyah/OSSAA woes


TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

I have read with interest the articles and comments on the football team at Sequoyah. I don’t even know where to begin, but I think it will be with Chief Bill John Baker.

Even though Chief Baker said his office and the Cherokee Nation would use every resource available in the appeal process, at some point, he changed his mind. After many phone calls and emails, Chief Baker went to the hearing, read a short statement and left the hearing. Way to fight! I don’t think I have ever been so ashamed to be a member of the Cherokee Nation. I noticed several TV stations reporting that Chief Baker had won the appeal. No, he didn’t. Parents of players paid $3,500 per player to have them represented by attorneys. That is what “won the appeal,” although it wasn’t much of a win.

Now, on to the biggest farce of an organization, the OSSAA. This organization doesn’t answer to anyone. There are many cases to pick from, but I will stick to the one I know the most about: the Jenks recruiting “scandal.”  How can a team that didn’t meet the OSSAA residency requirements still be allowed to play in the post-season, but Sequoyah wasn’t? It is beyond me how one team cannot be punished for a severe infraction that everyone knows about, and how the other one is severely punished for a minor, and might I add, ridiculous rule.

I would love for someone to explain to me what difference it makes who pays for a player to go to camp. I will go further and say this could be discrimination. A lot of students might not be able to afford camp at all, if they aren’t allowed any help. While others can go to any and as many camps as they wish, I would say that would put these kids at a better advantage. Again, I guess life’s not fair.

I find it appalling that you obviously are not thinking about the kids. What adult in their right mind would deny kids a chance to further their education? You have done that today. Many of these players may not be able to attend college based on your decision. I am ashamed and totally disgusted with the OSSAA today.

To Sequoyah players: Heads up, guys, you had an excellent season and have done nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the grown men and women who enjoy being able to squash the hopes and dreams of Oklahoma high school athletes that should be ashamed. Jenks gets a slap on the wrist for a severe infraction and Sequoyah is severely punished for a minor one?

It’s important to note that OSSAA notified Sequoyah Schools that if the players didn’t suit up their last game, they may not be as harsh in their punishment. Really?

Neither the Sequoyah players, nor their parents had any idea it was against the rules for someone other than them to pay for camp. I’m sure camp was a lot cheaper than the attorney fees. The biggest tragedy is players lost college scholarships due to the small-minded, big-ego men and women who arbitrarily get to decide the fate of high school athletes. The OSSAA needs to be held accountable for its actions.

Anita Brown