Unfair criticism at Clarkston?
There are situations where all the facts do not come out in a story, where due to requests from our sources (generally off the record comments), we write around them. This happens in journalism. It's the reality of our business.
Last night we had a breaking story from Clarkston, where athletic director Dan Fife informed The Oakland Press that the school's football team would be forfeiting their wins in the first two weeks of the season. The reason was that an academically ineligible player had participated in the victories over Rochester Adams and West Bloomfield.
The player had attended summer classes and had completed his obligation to be re-instated onto the team. All he needed to do was submit some paperwork to finish the process. Somewhere, somehow, that paperwork did not get into the proper hands before the team played its first two games. Thus, an academic violation had occurred. It was an honest mistake by all accounts.
The school, including Fife, followed the proper procedures and the result was that the team would have to forfeit their season-opening victories over the Highlanders and Lakers. As hard as it is to accept the punishment, basically a self-imposed one, for the mix-up, I applaud Fife, coach Kurt Richardson and the school for doing the right thing.
So many other schools would have taken the easy route and claimed ignorance or swept it under the rug to maintain a 3-0 record and an inevitable spot in the state playoffs. Clarkston did not.
But already people are commenting on message boards and Facebook walls that the Wolves cheated. It's unfortunate because the proper steps were taken, but a mistake was made. The school fessed up to it and took its medicine.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. And we love them here at The Oakland Press and MIPrepZone.com. I just figured I'd offer up mine. Clarkston did the right thing and, although it's a hard pill to swallow at the moment, the kids will ultimately learn a lot from this situation. And it's quite possible they'll learn it sooner rather than later. And that might spell trouble for the Wolves' opponents the rest of the year.