In a story that sounds like it was ripped from a Friday Night Lights script, a mother in Tennessee inadvertently caused her sons’ high school football team to forfeit games because of her willingness to use Facebook as a play-by-play device for how her life has been going.
According to an article that appeared in the Tennessean, two members of the Perry County Vikings — brothers Rodney and Ryan Belasic — were ruled ineligible by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association because of residency issues. The reason questions about where the two brothers’ eligibility came about from Facebook posts made by their mother.
To play football for a county high school in Tennessee, the entire family must reside within the county lines, and thanks to complaints about the brothers not cleaning their room while visiting their mother in Henry County, something she complained about on Facebook. This, naturally, caught the eye of interested parties, opening the door for the TSSAA’s eligibility investigation. It was believed that entire family had moved counties, but the mother’s Facebook chatter revealed that wasn’t the case:
“But the mother actually works in Henry County, and she posted on her Facebook page that she sent the kids back to Perry County for the week and that she would not see them again until Friday night,” [TSSAA Executive Director Bernard] Childress said. “Then, later on her Facebook page, she posted, ‘How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?'”
Which lead directly to the removal of the wins from Perry County’s record.
What seemed like such an innocuous post — a mom talking about her kids’ cleaning habits — wound up costing victories for the Perry County football team, which, according to reports, is considered one of Tennessee’s powerhouse football schools. It painfully obvious that anything posted on Facebook is fair game, regardless if, in this case, the TSSAA was the intended recipient or not. Someone is going to see what you wrote — unless you’re blocking all followers, which defeats the purpose of a Facebook account — and if it creates an issue for something so passionately followed as high school football, odds are your post will be the direct contributor to any punishment that’s handed down.
Just ask the Belasics and the Perry County football team. While this article is not a warning to stay off Facebook, if you don’t think before you post, the results could be unfortunate. Granted, it’s doubtful the mother thought she was doing anything wrong, and, in fact, she may not have even known about the TSSAA’s rules concerning residency.
But then again, the family did move to Perry County — well, mostly — so the kids could play for powerhouse football team.
Once again, the lesson here is think before you post.