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Posted on Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Huron, Pioneer football teams may be subject to disciplinary measures following fight

By Matt Durr

As Ann Arbor police and administrators at Huron and Pioneer High Schools comb through video tape of Friday night’s brawl that sent one Huron player to the hospital, questions are being raised about what sort of disciplinary action may be taken by schools or the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

John Johnson, communications director for the MHSAA, said the first step in the process is to review the referee’s report of the game, which can include ejections of players and coaches.


Daniel Brenner I

Johnson said that even though the game was over, the referees still held jurisdiction on the field and could eject members of both teams if necessary. If their report contains any ejections, those players or coaches would be ineligible for their team’s next contest.

“Incidents like this are very few and far between. There are nearly 900 football games played a week in the state of Michigan, but having just one sportsmanship breakdown is too many,” Johnson told on Saturday.

Once the referee’s report is reviewed, it is up to the schools to determine if any further disciplinary action is needed.

Both Huron Athletic Director Dottie Davis and Pioneer AD Eve Claar said they are reviewing all the tapes to determine what happened and who was responsible before making any sort of decision on disciplinary action.

“This just takes time,” Davis said.

“It’s not uncommon for schools to review the referee's report and take further action,” Johnson said.

According to the guidelines of the MHSAA coaches’ guidebook, coaches are the official representatives of the school at interscholastic athletic activities. They are also expected to practice certain standards, such as:

“Develop, communicate and model policies for athletes’ conduct and language in the locker room, at practice, during travel, during competition, and at other appropriate times.

“Give the highest degree of attention to athletes’ physical well-being.

“Present a clean and professional image in terms of personal appearance, and provide a positive role model in terms of personal habits, language and conduct.

The guidebook also states that athletes are to:

“Demonstrate respect for opponents and officials, before, during and after contests.”

As far as any potential punishment from the MHSAA is concerned, the guidebook states:

“When a contest is interrupted or it ends prematurely because of breakdown of proper sportsmanship and whether or not the on-site officials forfeit the contest to one team, one or both schools may be subjected to any or all, but not limited to, the following: censure, probation with competition, probation without competition, forfeiture, loss of privilege of revenue sharing, expulsion. In addition, it may be required of one or both schools that their coaches and administrators appear before the Executive Committee to indicate why additional action should not be taken.”

Any possible suspensions or forfeiture of games could have a huge impact on Pioneer’s chance of making the state playoffs. With Friday night’s 35-6 win, Pioneer is now 5-3 on the season and a victory in the next game would guarantee it a spot in the playoffs.

Pioneer’s next game is against Livonia Franklin (2-6), while Huron is set to play Westland John Glenn. Both games are scheduled for Oct. 20.

Regardless of the punishments handed out by the state athletic officials, Ann Arbor Public Schools officials say the situation will be handled with proper care.

"This is a really appalling situation," said Liz Margolis, spokeswoman for the AAPS. "This is not how a coaching staff should lead student athletes. We'll be taking appropriate action with students and staff."


Karen H

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Just from scanning some of the news about this horrible incident and think what has the world come to. Both teams need to be suspended until further investigation, including the coaches.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

Prevention anyone? Do we need to more carefully screen the backgrounds of our staff/coaches/assistances in the public education system? Would we have found that some of these people are unsuitable?


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

Eye/Heart, you DO have a sharp cynical tongue, but it's fun nevertheless. What putdowns!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Background checks? References? Now there is something I'm sure Dottie never thought of. Hey, this concept could be expanded to hiring in all areas. Just think of the possibilities!! And to think it all started with your original thought, right here on!! Very good. Very good indeed.

Fat Bill

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

Simply cancel the remainder of the season for both programs. No letters, no awards banquets, no fanfare; this may help those involved keep things in perspective. Of course, any grownups initiating physical contact get shown the door, they are hired to mold young minds and they failed...


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Good grief! Now we will not make all the top ten list in the country!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Yes, the role of every coach is to be a role model of sportsmanship, whether you are losing OR winning. While Coach Sleeve shouldn't have let Pioneer's pranks get to him, at the end of the day he has a very good heart and he loves those kids. He was trying to protect his players. Should he really be fired for that?? This is not a national incident, and will be completely forgotten in 2 weeks except for the very locals that were directly involved. Let's keep this in perspective now.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Let's not forget that this was a public display of violence, assault, or battery, and that there are local and state laws (maybe even federal) covering this incident. And the incident is on tape, probably on many phones/cameras for future access and action. The proper legal authorities are responsible for investigation, trial, prosecution, and maintaining orderly conduct. In the UK, riots have broken out during public sporting events, with deaths ensuing. We need to set a strong, clear, and unambiguous example here. If you exhibit violence, you will be prosecuted by the fullest extent of the law, ESPECIALLY if your violence occurs in a public school or in a public place and has the potential of spreading or encouraging more violent behavior! There are new laws to cover situations like this, and they need to be enforced swiftly and uniformly.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Prevention anyone? Do we need to more carefully screen the backgrounds of our staff/coaches/assistances in the public education system? Would we have found that some of these people are unsuitable by past behavior?


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

No arrests? Ann Arbor and Michigan will now be in the national spotlight, and it is critical that the legal system operates swiftly and holds everyone accountable to the maximum penalties provided by law. This is equivalent to domestic violence action/law, except that those responsible are the coaches, staff, and leaders/athletes. Each and everyone involved (the students/athletes and staff/coaches) should be identified on video, arrested, charged and processed according to the law. This is way beyond the policy jurisdiction of the superintendant, administrators, board, principal, athletic director, and staff. This is plain and simple an act of assault and battery, to be dealt with by the law, with the maximum penalties applied up to and including criminal penalties and jail/prison time. You can be sure that our zero tolerance policy and law for domestic violence is a model here. If we do anything short of charging and prosecuting everyone involved, then we will see this again in the future. If everyone who was guilty of fighting is charged with criminal assault and battery, without any "easy judgements" we are sure this kind of thing won't happen again. Ann Arbor and Michigan is now in the national spotlight, and it is critical that the legal system operates responsibly and holds everyone accountable to avoid a repeat. If Ann Arbor schools hired responsible staff and coaches, then the staff and coaches need to stand up to the challenge and admit their guild and accept the maximum penalty provided by law. This will ensure Michigan schools and the rest of the country will not see this kind of incident again.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Somehow I don't think an high school football brawl puts Ann Arbor in the national spotlight! Only in a state where sports are everything would such a rumpus (though thoroughly regrettable) be thought of as a national issue! (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Michigan----but I do think our tribal "sports are the be all and end all of everything" to be a bit much).

Unusual Suspect

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

No arrests at this point doesn't mean there won't be any. This could happen as a result of the investigation. The crutch incident, which is an assault with a weapon, could merit an arrest. As for the pushing, shoving and assaults not involving a weapon other than one's person, these would likely require a victim to decide press charges. In one of the articles I read that the player were already on the field, so it's not as simple as who left the bench to join the fight. And I also read the head coaches were only exchanging words, so that should be kept in mind. I believe I read an assistant coach for Pioneer was first to introduce physical activity into the argument, so that's certainly a significant moment in the evening and one for which I would support MHSAA banning him from coaching duties anywhere in the state. Like I said, I read these things... waiting to see if the investigations determine them to be true.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

Let's not repeat the hot-headedness that sparked the brawl by calling for draconian sanctions that end people's employment. I have faith in the officials involved that this will NOT be swept under the rug. I'm glad that they're carefully reviewing footage and waiting for the refs' report before coming forward with their own findings and sanctions. I'm also glad if this leads to a commitment on the part of all in AAPS athletics to instill good sportsmanship first and foremost among athletes. There is so much that kids gain from participating in sports--it means so much to them--that it's a shame to see this kind of event tarnish that aspect of their education. Sad that this incident happened, and let's DO act to punish those at fault (when we've carefully established who/how) but let's also build a stronger athletics program based on this incident by being smart and thoughtful about it, rather than using it as an excuse to 'go off' at someone. Take a time out, angry folks, eh? Good decisions come from calmer thoughts.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

We should apply the law the same way we would if your child was hit by someone or was physically threatened, or subject to emotional or physical bullying. This is completely unacceptable for AAPS governance, local, or state law enforcement That's not draconian. It's the law. Assault, battery, threats, these are criminal prosecutions under ALL circumstances. Are our public schools, their employees, and students somehow exempt and above the law? Is this why our schools are less safe each day, and seem to be unable to prevent bullying and violence in the hall, before, and after school? Our children need to feel they are safe at school and after school sponsored activities. We need more cops "on the beat" in our hallways, and more prosecutions to deter this unacceptable and illegal behavior. We need to send a clear message, before the situation worsens. This is not about ending employment, unless a prison term for assault and battery, or a video showing assault or unprofessional conduct deems it necessary to fire staff immediately. I doubt a union could support an employee under circumstances of irrefutable evidence of violence, assault, or battery. And we have plenty of ipads or iphones with video these days. Prosecution and trials will be necessary to clear some individuals (maybe school administration) and hold the proper individuals accountable, and hopefully prevent any future occurrences.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Funny that there is this supposed "code of honor" in football around over-scoring. I always thought it was mainly a way for QBs to avoid further chance of unnecessary injury in the remaining seconds/minutes. But whatever. How about other sports, though? Huron had no problem with scoring a couple more goals to rub Pioneer's nose in their (5-0? 6-0?) loss to Huron (I can't look up the score because that is soccer, which doesn't like to cover). And didn't Huron blow Pioneer out by around 40 points last basketball season? What about the year before? Yet Pioneer is being blamed for this riot because they kept on trying to score. I never did get football, the most barbaric of sports, the sport that leaves so many players physically incapable of enjoying athletics in their adult years... And now I understand it even less!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

"And now I understand it even less!" I don't find surprising at all.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

One way to severely punish Huron would be to extend their football season.

Flynn O'Donnell

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

That's just mean!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

You would love that wouldn't you. I am thinking they are going to suspend them the rest of the season. Including coaches and referees.

darre james

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Coach glenny calls the offensive plays and should be let go or at least suspended.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Add the coaches to the discipline for failure to set a good example and to control their players.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

They just modeled their behavior after Jim Schwartz.

Terry Star21

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:37 a.m.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools will take the appropriate steps after an investigation - this you can be assured of. From all accounts that we have heard so far, it would appear (allegedly) that everything began with the two head coaches meeting. Something happened verbally (maybe physically) at that point which instigated this brawl. If this is a true, it is a very sad case of educational leaders conduct. Teachers and coaches teach by example, they teach our kids with impeccable behaviour traits. There should be an unwritten (or written) 'no tollerance' policy of behaviour for teachers/coaches (although the MEA protects teachers, or coaches that teach). If the A2 administration finds that it is true, that one or both of these coaches were responsible for this brawl - one or both should be fired. Adults strive and sacrifice for their children to make sure they are safe. I feel for the young man that was injured, and it is a miracle more weren't injured or any more serious injuries occured. There should be a zero tolerance policy for those adults, if guilty.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:26 a.m.

Proper punishment: Both teams forfeit their games in week #9. Both coaches are fired along with their entire coaching staffs. AAPS makes Pioneer decline any share of the SEC Red title and because of the forfeiture of their game in week # 9, no playoffs. The MHSAA should ban both coaches from coaching. This is a disgrace to our entire conference and the rest of us are hoping that you handle this appropriately.

Basic Bob

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

" it is up to the schools to determine if any further disciplinary action is needed" The school board and superintendent will do the usual... Nothing.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Not if MHSAA is involved. They will take it out of the schools hands make it their own. I have seen USFSA get involved in skate problems and let me tell you you are out before you hit home.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

There are consequences for behavior and actions, and perhaps neither of these coaches will be coaching another game in Ann Arbor. There is a pattern of poor sportsmanship from Pioneer leading up to this event, and whoever's job it is to supervise behavior there should be let go as well. What a disgrace to our community. People should have been fired when Pioneer players intentionally smeared large quantities of human feces on the Huron athletic field as a "prank". Poor behavior has been going on for far too long, and experts will tell you if you do not set limits, there will be more bad behavior, violence and problems. What a disgrace for our children. The School Board may need to step in and remove those responsible for supervising this mess if proper action is not taken. The schools need to have counselors available for children who feel violated by the violent behavior in their "home". Everything must be done to setforth a program of community healing following this disruptive event and avoid more problems. This starts with cleaning up the house.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

This is now in the local, state, regional, and national spotlight. Are we going to have a high tolerance of violence in our public schools, avoid criminal prosecution for everyone involved, and try to cover this up? How bad would it look for AAPS, MHAA, our local and state legal system, and our image in the national spotlight?


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

D.C. Most reasonable people would understand this is not " the best Ann Arbor can do" it was the worst! I doubt there are many schools in the state that do not have a black mark against them for one reason or another. This is not to brush this under the rug, but do NOT paint a whole community with this brush! Tell us where you live if not in Pioneers district and I am sure we can come up with some dirt.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:29 a.m.

If this is the best Ann Arbor can do maybe AAPS should no longer sanction varsity football.