Gainesville coach Bruce Miller will be suspended for his team’s football game Friday against Johnson of Gainesville.
His crime: In last week’s game against Franklin County, a 28-7 victory, one of his players neglected to wear hip pads, and another was flagged for not wearing his mouth guard.
Both resulted in unsportsmanlike penalties against Gainesville that were charged to the head coach.
According to National High School Federation rules, two unsportsmanlike penalties result in an automatic ejection for the head coach. According to Georgia High School Association rules, an ejected coach or player then must serve a one-game suspension.
“I will do what I am supposed to, but I really hate I am going to miss a game because of this,” Miller said. “I have never been ejected from a game for any reason. I think somebody should look at the rules and never let this happen again. … I will feel so lost not being at the game.”
GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said the ruling can’t be appealed because it is a judgment call, and NHSF and GHSA rules were followed. Swearngin said the officials are supposed to ask head coaches before games if their players are properly equipped. If a coach says yes, he becomes responsible for any violations.
“Both are protection issues, and coaches are responsible for that,” Swearngin said. “The only thing people might say is, ‘Gee, it would’ve been nice if you’d be given a warning,’ and that’s a debate we can have, but it sounds like it was handled straight by the national rule book. It’s unfortunate that it happened to a gentleman like this coach who is really not a problem. He just got caught in some technical issue.”
Miller said he would accept the penalty but not like it.
“This really hurts because I put so much into it,” Miller said. “Every coach wants to be with his team, and I did nothing to deserve this.”
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