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High School Runner Points At God, Gets Team Disqualified

League says athlete was disrespectful toward officials

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A high school track team from Columbus, Texas was disqualified when a runner pointed to the sky after crossing the finish line. The issue is being discussed as possible religious discrimination, though the reason given for disqualification was not based on religion, but because the gesture was deemed “an unsporting act”.

I’m not sure that Tim Tebow has even been penalized for this before, despite doing it all the time (though he has drawn taunting flags in the past).

FOX 26 has a report on the outrage that has ensued (via caintv):

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

The University Interscholastic League, responsible for handing out the penalty, has issued a statement on the matter, saying:

The UIL is composed of four geographic regions across the state of Texas, each of which are divided into six conferences in UIL track and field. A total of 24 regional track meets are held statewide and conducted by local meet officials, selected by regional sites.

At the Region IV Conference 3A Track & Field regional meet held on Saturday, April 27 at Texas A&M Kingsville, a relay team from Columbus High School was disqualified by local meet officials for an unsporting act at the conclusion of the boys 4 x100 meter relay.

The meet official indicated the athlete crossed the finish line and gestured upward with his arm and finger and behaved disrespectfully toward meet officials, in their opinion. In the judgment of the official, this was a violation of NFHS track & field rule 4-6-1. The regional meet referee concurred with this decision and the student was subsequently disqualified. There is no indication that the decision was made because of any religious expression. This was a judgment call, as are many decisions of meet officials in all activities.

According to NFHS rules, once the meet is concluded, the results become final. Neither the UIL nor NFHS have rules that prohibit religious expression.

The UIL takes situations such as these very seriously, and is continuing to investigate the matter fully.

High School Runner Points At God, Gets Team Disqualified
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  • Tari

    The rule says that unsporting behavior is defined as “unethical or dishonorable”. So when a kids points to God, is it unethical or is it dishonorable?

    • Jay

      No it actually says you cannot raise your arms above your head. It’s a little ridiculous, but its a rule. Pointing a finger up, holding up, sure would look like “we are number one”

      • Shawn

        I can’t find any rule about raising one’s arms above one’s head. I did see that reported in various articles, but I don’t think that’s an actual rule, and the rule the UIL pointed to certainly doesn’t say that.

      • Criss

        How is saying ” We are number one ” acting ” unethical or dishonorable? ”

        The way I and people with logic (Something the UIL seems to lack.

        That phrase can have quite a few meanings. Among them being that you have faith that your team will go all the way.

        • Chris

          It is funny that in claiming “The way I and people with logic” you are committing a logical fallacy.

          How is that logic. You are not using logic you are making a poor assumption. Logic dictates that the person making the statement, which point is, would define what that statement is, and according to them it meant one thing, that God was the reason we won. That could be seen as a sign of disrespect to others that dont follow the same faith.

          • Niles Normore

            Funny people who win put their arms up all the time. Any soccer game or hockey game, when they win what do they do? Put their arms up. Yet they said this was not religiously motivated. Well if that’s true then whats the problem with pointing to God. The judgement is obviously religiously motivated. And they have a problem with religious expression.

  • Daniel Bar

    The kid should have Tebowed after her crossed the finish line. This is why society is going down the drain; the fear of offending someone is so great you cannot express yourself in the heat of competition without breaking some rule. This decision is a disgrace and should be overturned.

    • Chris

      This is really a circular argument.. In fact by doing this you are arguing that the officials should not be able to express the rules because it offends you.

  • Vince

    I think the meet officials who “were offended” by someone just pointing up to the sky needs to have a shrink have a nice long talk about their “mental instability”.Seriously “behaved disrespectfully toward meet officials” if they get all worked up from someone just raising their arm to the sky I wonder what would happen if someone actually did something that was “behaved disrespectfully toward meet officials”. The meet officials need to grow up and stop acting like a bunch paranoid idiots who think people are out to get them I bet if someone pointed a finger in their direction they would believe they were being assaulted.This is utter bullshit and the meet officials need to be held accountable.

    • http://google Randy Franks

      I agree with Vince, very well put, This is a disgrace to screw the kids over, he didn’t flip him the finger, he pointed to the sky. you didn’t catch the kids having sex in the busses, smoking pot and doing crack in the bathrooms, but by God we will show that young man who just won the race who the hell the UIL judges are. you should all be horse whipped on the track in front of everyone at the state meet. UIL what a joke.

    • Chad

      Read the investigation report. They did not get disqualified for pointing to the sky they got disqualified for being disrespectful when the meet official went to warn the kid about his actions. Has nothing to do with pointing to the sky if the kid would have keep his mouth shut and said yes sir then they would be running in Austin.

  • Jason Whittman

    Please let the big money sponsors of UIL know why they should no longer support them:

    State Farm
    Baden
    Fox Southwest
    Nike Team Sport
    Balfor
    Best Western
    Dairy Queen
    Ford
    GatorAid

  • michele

    As is probably true of most stories published in the news today, there was more to it and less to it than the public was told. Don’t believe everything you read. And the media today LOVES to put religious or sexual allegations where there might not necessarily be any.

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