Former Libbey High School girls basketball coach Sheronda Boyd was wrong in not delivering her team for a scheduled game at Scott High a few weeks back. She was forewarned by administrators and, I'm told, by a union rep of the possible consequences, termination being among them. She went off like a loose cannon and, appropriately, lost her coaching job.
That said, way to go, Sheronda.
Boyd cited security issues, and maybe she had some. It's her story so she can stick to it. But anybody familiar with Toledo high school athletics knows this was about recruiting and/or the loosely-enforced residency requirements that allow mobile urban teenagers the opportunity to call their own academic and athletic shots.
We are not suggesting that Scott's new girls basketball coach, a former assistant to Boyd at Libbey, recruited two underclass Libbey players to follow him across town. He may have been unaware they had enrolled at Scott until the first day of classes.
But there they were, along with a former Rogers player and a former Waite player who are first-year members of the Scott boys basketball team.
Don't like your coach? Leave. Too good to play for a bad team? Hit the road. Struggling to stay eligible? Try elsewhere. Think you'll have a better shot at a college ride if you're playing for a team that gets more attention and publicity? Go for it.
This happens every year in virtually every sport, and there isn't a public high school in town that hasn't been affected. Scott has probably been on the short end of these exchanges as often as not, so we're not pointing any fingers. And this isn't directed at the players involved. After all, when the light's green, you're allowed to go.
But shouldn't the system have some red lights? Or at least yellow for caution?
There is little oversight into residency changes, actual or otherwise. It's as easy as moving out of one apartment and into another, as commonplace as a change in custody or guardianship. The board of education, from an academic standpoint, and the City League office, from an athletic perspective, leave such oversight to the individual schools.
Whether a change in residency is actual or cosmetic is rarely challenged. Produce a utility bill or a lease agreement and you're home free, regardless of where you lay your head at night. It's easier for the schools to ink up a rubber stamp than it is to argue.
And, when a good athlete walks in the same doors that others have walked out of, why would a school want to argue?
So coaches like Sheronda Boyd see a promising team decimated by defections. She isn't the first, she won't be the last.
Her protest was unique. What likely prompted it, unfortunately, is all too common in Toledo high school sports.
Dave Hackenberg is a Blade sports writer.
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