Coaches Facing Charges and Other Recent Youth Football Scandals

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Nine individuals, including coaches, involved in youth football programs in Florida have been arrested for allegedly running a bookmaking operation. The operation spanned multiple leagues and those charged allegedly set the odds and took bets on a lot of games. The investigation into the bookmaking operation lasted for more than one year and it is alleged that a significant amount of money was bet in most games. The individuals charged are facing felony charges and several of them already have a criminal record that includes felonies. This is not the first time that a controversy has brought youth football into the headlines.

Elijah Earnheart

In 2012, at the age of 12, Elijah Earnheart weighed approximately 300 pounds. Earnheart was also significantly taller than his peers. Though he really wanted to play in the same youth team as his friends, he was over the weight limit of 135 pounds that had been established for the potentials players and officials would not allow for the rules to be waived. Although he did not get to play on the same team as his friends, he was allowed to play for his middle school team in the fall.


In October of 2011, during a youth football game in Georgia, a referee determined that a nasty looking tackle on a kicker had been legal. When spectators heard the call, things got a little out of hand. It is alleged that approximately 100 people stormed the field, threatened the referee and tried to fight even the young players. Three coaches were charged and the two teams were forced to sit out the next game.


In September of 2012, a youth football game in Massachusetts made headlines when five players received concussions. Parents of youth football players and those involved with the sport expressed significant concerns over the number of concussions. Most of the concern stems from the fact that permanent damage may be caused by concussions. There was also concern that some of the rules relating to player safety had not been followed. Two coaches were suspended for the season and three officials were banned after the game ended with a score of 52-0. No mercy rule had been invoked.


In late September of 2012, Darren Crawford and Pat Galentine were suspended pending an investigation into allegations that they had been in charge of a bounty scheme in a youth football team that provided payments to players for taking out other players. The team in question, the Tustin Pee Wee Red Cobras, had made it to the championship game during the 2011 season.

Bad Behavior

Unfortunately, Crawford and Galentine were not the only individuals accused of being involved with a bounty scandal. In early October of 2012, Craig Ruber was banned for the season after multiple allegations of poor behavior began to surface. In one instance, it is alleged that Ruber encouraged his players to urinate on a shirt supporting the opposing team. In another instance, it is alleged that Ruber paid $20 to his players for taking out opposing players. It was reported that the parents supported the coach despite the accusations.

Though Kristin Watt is not a fan of all sports, she does follow the news on most sports religiously. Major news events in sport do tend to ripple out to others and she makes sure that she never misses the big stories.

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