Tis' the season for bizarre prep track disqualifications, apparently. Following last week's strange saga surrounding Churchill (Ore.) High senior sprinter Spenser Schmidt (say that 10 times fast), whose violation of "the jewelry rule" was ultimately overturned, things got even weirder in California over the weekend.
Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra High senior Adoree' Jackson, a USC football commit who owns the nation's farthest long jump among prep competitors this season, failed to reach the California state meet after being eliminated for "receiving communication electronically" at a qualifying meet, according to PrepCalTrack.com.
During the Southern Section Division 4 preliminary meet, Jackson reportedly left the competition area to analyze video of himself, violating a confusing National Federation of High School Associations rule:
The use of electronic communication devices is permitted during meets in unrestricted areas and coaches’ boxes; however, they may not be used for any review of a referee’s decision or to communicate with an athlete during a race or trial.
According to PrepCalTrack.com, Southern Section track officials did not designate an unrestricted area or a coaches' box, and therefore Jackson was automatically in violation of the recently amended rule.
"It was obvious," meet manager Van Latham told the website. "Several coaches — at least six of them — immediately noticed it and said they wanted to file protests."
This obviously raises questions over letter of the law vs. spirit of the law. If athletes were never permitted to watch video of themselves during a meet, then Jackson was in clear violation of the rule.
That, however, doesn't appear to be the case. It seems a shame so many coaches were so willing to eliminate one of the state's premier senior athletes because he watched video of himself in the wrong place. Perhaps everyone would have been better served with a warning.