As sports editor for The Union Daily Times, it is my job to report sports news. It is not my job to insinuate or to speculate.
That’s why when rumors began floating around Union County concerning some of the athletes I cover and an alleged incident at Williams Brice Stadium, our publication requested information. However, when our superintendent and a representative from the University of South Carolina declared it false, it was a moot subject.
Now, if there was proof to the contrary, it would be our job to investigate that. The fact is, both schools denied any knowledge of misconduct. Bottom line: Our job is to relay the FACTS to our readers.
FACT: A statement was issued a week ago via email by Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall that read: “Coach (Steve) Taneyhill spoke with a USC representative last night to follow up. There was no vandalism and no items have been reported stolen from the school or players. ”
FACT: I contacted USC myself and Woodall’s statement was supported by its media contact.
So, are they trying to sweep something under the rug? This is a question The Union Daily Times has fielded frequently in the past week and according to Woodall, the school board has been presented with the same inquiry.
“It’s not a matter of trying to hide things or being uncooperative,” Woodall said during a conversation she and I had on Tuesday. “We have to deal with evidence and right now there is no evidence to support that claim.”
FACT: A Union County athlete was held out of the North-South All Star football game due to a discipline matter. The UCHS athletic department issued a statement that said: “Our athletes are chosen to participate in post-season play. It is the school’s choice whether or not to accept the invitation. Due to a discipline matter, no Union County High School football players will participate in the North-South football game.”
Suddenly, assumptions were made. When our questions weren’t answered, we drew our own conclusions about what the athlete must have done to warrant the action. Here’s the thing: This was not a professional athlete. This was a high school kid. Let me repeat that. This is a high school kid.
Aside from the fact that we are not entitled to an explanation, we are not allowed one legally.
“It is not a matter of the school board not wanting to explain,” said Woodall. “When it involves students or personnel, we simply cannot. Students are protected by confidentiality. We communicate with the parents but outside of that we are bound to offer no explanations. A lot of times we have people ask what someone did and what the consequences were but only the administrator involved can know the case in its entirety. Each case is different so we can’t compare one to another nor can we disclose the details to anyone other than the legal guardian.”
This is an opinion column, not a gossip column. I have been given a platform through which to voice my opinions on sports topics. It is not a soapbox from which we spread or fuel rumors. If new facts present themselves, you’ll find them in The Union Daily Times first.
Until then, this case is closed.