Another thing that has become increasingly troublesome is the politics behind sports. Sports (especially football) is a great way to generate revenue. Revenue is almost directly related to how well the team performs which falls back on the coach of that team. Football in High School is just about the only way schools receive revenue for their sports. While Oxford really doesn't do it that way - their way is by way of the Booster Club where people pay for membership passes to enter Oxford sporting events - most other schools do it that way especially the smaller schools. The admission money Oxford receives not from the Booster Passes goes to the School District - the Athletic Department or the Booster Club does not see one penny of it - and usually it is to pay for the utility costs (i.e. Electricity used for the Stadium Lights, the Scoreboard and what not).
However, that is what I am getting too. Money is not the main issue here. The issue I'm referring to is the politics there is in sports. Money is involved, but it is not with the Oxford School District as a whole.
As I have well documented back in the summer and in the fall, former Oxford Boys Soccer Coach Jamie Perkins resigned - believed to be forcibly done so - due to "personal reasons." Perkins is currently involved with the Mississippi Flood Soccer Program, a D1 (highest-tier, lowest being D3) Club designed to improve the skills of the highly skilled soccer players in the Oxford-Lafayette area. The closest D1 club to Oxford beyond the Flood program resides in Tupelo. The next nearest is 70 miles out in the Memphis area. The Oxford-Lafayette Complex opened last Fall out on Highway 7 southwest of Oxford about 7 miles from the City Limits and they are about to host a 3v3 Soccer Tournament in less than 2 weeks.
I have been on record saying Perkins likelihood of his forced resign decision was because of his involvement with the Flood and not with the Oxford Park Commission who also runs a Soccer program. OPC runs a lot of programs but the Soccer program is the biggest one they run. When they learned that Perkins refers to the Flood's Program and not theirs, that is where a rift occurred. OPC has D2 and D3 programs (the two bottom-tiered programs of the 3), and Perkins rather have them go and hone their skills with the best possible competition instead of going to what he believes was "lower" competition. Because of this, OPC was fearful of losing money in their most popular sport and many are under the impression that OPC pressured the Oxford School District under what they claim was a tainted tryout back in May.
Parents were likely involved because several parents of the players on the team are or were on the OPC staff at different positions, and appeared to have gotten their way. Since the coaching change, it is worth noting that Oxford has played FOUR High School games at FNC Park instead of being at OHS where their home field is supposed to be. By the way, Oxford has only played THREE Varsity matches at home this season - Corinth, New Albany, and West Point (the Girls have played four having played Lafayette at home and will be five this Tuesday when they host their playoff game). Both Oxford teams played three matches early in January at FNC Park and a 4th against region foe Saltillo. Oxford was slated to have to have 7 Varsity Matches at home - only 3 were played at Bobby Holcomb Field and 1 was moved to FNC Park as was another Girls game (Pontotoc). The other 2+ were cancelled completely.
The players were quite upset at the change. In response, several players were out infront of the old high school (which of course then the current high school) in protest for a few hours of the day. Nothing came out of it in the end. A Facebook page was made up in protest as well that got near 800 likes.
Now, about two weeks ago, New Hope fired their Football coach after just one year. Their reasoning for their firing is that the administration did not like several of the tactics the coach used during the season - some of which was used against Oxford. (and NOT for the fact they went 4-7 this year) The tactics being the coach would use his timeouts to run more plays despite the game being completely out of reach when the other team was clearly trying to run the clock out. He also did the same thing against West Point. It is worth noting the coach is not officially off the job yet. The administration has decided to just let his contract run out instead of terminating his job right there - which will be June 30th of this year.
In retaliation, 35 of the 60 New Hope Football players skipped a mandatory workout during one of their 7th period classes. Most of those football players will be experiencing their third coach in three years after this change. Their football players planned this skipping. The administration responded by giving every single one of those players one day of ISD (In-School Detention - like "In-School Suspension") for skipping a school class. The players felt helpless and skipping this class was the only way to get their attention. The players responded with this being unfair punishment seeing that they see students skip classes all the time but never see any punishment come out of it. They did it as a "Monkey see-Monkey do" type of deal. They had hoped that this got to the attention of the administration over at New Hope. We will see if anything comes out of it.
When a coach has to leave because of forces beyond their control, this hurts the players involved. At the High School level it is especially important. When Perkins got "fired", he had just won a Championship for Oxford and most of the players did not EVER receive an explanation explaining why by either Perkins or the administration. They got the vague reason of "personal issues", none of which were ever explained. New Hope's coach was fired for using what their administration called "dirty tactics". While I have personally seen those tactics this year, who is to say something else is not behind the firing and that is just an excuse. The tactics where just running more plays then they should have and not actually the players targeting injury to the opponent.
It appears that parents are increasingly butting their noses in where they shouldn't belong and they are attempting to be coaches themselves. While Oxford Boys Soccer's situation is a lot different than New Hope Football's is, they both are going in the same direction. It wouldn't shock me with anything at New Hope given for what they are known for. Boys Soccer had the situation of coming off a State Championship needing to replace 8 starters (really 9 as Ty Barber has been repeatedly injured all year - and he is a Senior this year) from last year's team and went into the season without much of a summer workout or playing in any summer games unlike the rest of the state - because it appeared certain people whatever it'd be anybody at OPC or certain parents, it proved itself very costly this season so far as Oxford could not defend its own Division Title is has owned for a few years. New Hope is far different, coming off a 4-7 year and not making the playoffs - so they have a much better chance of covering up whatever happened down there being that they did not win much, but the coach that was fired was only one year into his job.
Coaches are under more pressure now than ever before with social media (like Twitter - and a few OHS coaches want to handcuff me every now and then), and parents seemingly being able to get their say so in - likely because of how they were able to at OPC since they consider their parents customers and they have to keep the customer happy for them to keep coming back. They believe that the same result will happen at the high school level. More often than not, coaches and the higher levels up get their way, but they will look for anything to make sure their kid is able to play for the team. Coaches usually get their way because their kid did not perform like he needed to make the team or to start on the team. That seemed to be the case with Boys Soccer by way of having to do a second tryout earlier this year but other people think otherwise.
New Hope's case was for what the coach did on the field during game days. While the whole story is not known, there is just a hunch something else happened that gave reason for the coach to be fired.
The trend of going behind the backs of the public eye is disturbing. There are things I have been told that I really can't reveal publicly to who I got it from.
I hate to see this trend happening. When is the "right way" of doing things going to overtake "power" and "greed"? That would be a perfect world, but we don't live in such a world now do we?