Thursday, February 20, 2014

Phillipsburg (New Jersey) wrestling team learns a lesson in sportsmanship

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour
Follow @NHSCARadioShow

Photo courtesy of Express-Times
Phillipsburg's wrestling program is always near the top of the heap in New Jersey.  Last weekend, the Stateliners capped a perfect 18-0 dual meet season by winning the NJSIAA Group 4 state team championship, which would have been a good springboard into the state's individual championships.

However, the glory of the state title has now been tarnished by the above photo of seven of the P'burg wrestlers posing with a wrestling dummy wearing a Paulsboro High School t-shirt that is hanging from a rope.

According to the Express-Times, all seven of the wrestlers have been scratched from this weekend's district championships.  Two of the wrestlers were expected to receive #1 seeds.

On Thursday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association agreed with school's punishment to not allow the wrestlers to participate in the state tournament.

"The photograph violates the principles of good sportsmanship and is a flagrant violation of the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Rule," said NJSIAA Executive Director Steven Timko in the statement that was highlighted in a story written by Sarah Peters of the Express-Times. "Most importantly, the photo depicts a fundamental disrespect for an opponent, using violent imagery that has no place in high school sports."

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