Opinion: Perhaps, it’s time to ditch ‘Jack Cochran Rule’

November 15, 2013

By MICHAEL LETENDRE
STAFF WRITER
The 50-point rule in scholastic football – commonly referred to as “The Jack Cochran Rule” – might have run its course in the state of Connecticut.
Or has it?
For those of you that don’t know about the state’s 50-point rule in scholastic football, a football team is not allowed to beat another team by 50 or more points.
If that happens, the coach of the ‘offending’ team can get suspended for one game if caught in violation of the rule.
Heck, some states don’t even use a 50-point rule but have some sort of blowout guidelines if you will.
And already in 2013, the 50-point barrier has been breached.
Wolcott – for instance – on Friday, Sept. 13 smoked hapless Sacred Heart 61-6.
But the coach of the winning squad, Jason Pace, didn’t purposely attempt to run up the score and the Hearts knew it.
He was not suspended (and shouldn’t have been) as he brought in his JV team and kept the score in check as much as possible and as best he could.
What was he going to do, tell his younger players, who just entered the game and hungry to leave their mark, to run out of bounds and not score?
Now that leaves an interesting question to ponder. If that coach (Cochran), who is not running up the scores anymore in his current position at Harding High School and is behaving, should the 50-point rule be dropped?
I say yes, it should be dropped but not scrapped altogether.
Jack Cochran isn’t destroying anyone from the helm of Harding (that is, when he’s actually on the sidelines for the school) and maybe it’s time to make a change.
Here’s an example of why Connecticut should – at the very least – drop the 50-point rule.
What coach, in his right mind, is screaming in the locker room before a game, “Let’s score 100 points against Fermi and embarrass them!”
It’s not happening and, believe me, once the score gets out of hand, opponents wouldn’t look to thrash a squad like the Falcons as Fermi who – to its credit – puts out a team year after year that seemingly only wins one game in a good season.
I truly don’t feel like there’s one coach in the state who, in the fourth quarter of a Fermi or Notre Dame-Fairfield blowout, would keep his foot on the gas pedal to embarrass the opposing squad.
But…
There’s always someone trying to push the envelope, teach a team a lesson or attempt to do more harm than good in a sport that also should be considered a learning environment for young men.
That’s kind of what high school is all about.
In my proposal, I say any game can be brought up for review no matter what the score.
If one coach thinks the other team is running the score up, the CIAC must be contacted and the game be put under quick review.
I would only allow three days for the CIAC to rule as the team who won the game and that is under investigation needs to be notified early in the week.
Again, if found guilty of running up the score, or if it’s determined that the spirit of the game has been violated, a one-game suspension will be issued with no appeal process.
The coach of the team that lost must inform the CIAC of the incident within 24 hours of the completion of the game and provide a film breakdown in which shows some sort of violation.
I wouldn’t assign a point value to the margin of victory with my rule. But whatever guidelines the CIAC uses, it must keep the standards the same in reviewing each and every game without bias.
I think that change would be a good one because beating a squad by 45 points is fine with the old system. But beating one by 53 is not allowed and the coach can get into serious trouble.
Does that make any sense?
Hey, maybe there’s a better method to solve this situation and on this topic, the sky’s the limit.
However, the 50-point rule needs to be eliminated because that guy who caused all the problems in the first place isn’t doing it anymore.
You can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.

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