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Adults behaving badly leads to canceled season for Bel Air Terps 12U Red team

Fight at scrimmage, followed by hostility at meeting led to decision

BY RANDY McROBERTS, rmcroberts@theaegis.com

August 26, 2011

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Saturday marks the beginning of another season of rec football for hundreds of kids in Harford County, but for one group, the Bel Air Terps 12U Red, there will be no game Saturday or any other Saturday in the 2011 season.

The 12U Red Terps fell victim to penalties resulting from inappropriate adult-parent behaviors that occurred as adults scuffled during a scrimmage last Saturday against Elkridge at Raburn Park and more behavior problems again at a player meeting Tuesday at the McFaul Center.

A physical confrontation took place at the scrimmage between a man and woman, both affiliated with the Bel Air team. The other bad behavior from adults, the two who were in Saturday's altercation were not at Tuesday's meeting, was from parents angry to find out the Terps 12U Red teams was being shut down and their children might not have a place to play football this year.

Based on the actions and the subsequent investigation by the Bel Air Terps Review Team (in consultation with the Bel Air Recreation Council and Upper Chesapeake Youth Football League) the 2011 season for the Bel Air Terps 12U Red is canceled.

All parents received this message through email Wednesday from Christopher King, Player Personnel Director for Bel Air Terps.

"Bel Air Parents (12U Red Terps):

This is to address the conclusion of the issues and happenings on Aug. 20, 2011, between the parents-families during the Elkridge scrimmage at Raburn Park.

Pursuant of our investigation and subsequent consultation with parties directly-indirectly involved, league officials, and Bel Air Recreation Council members, it was agreed that the instance(s) of inappropriate adult-parent behavior necessitate serious address. Though up until last night (Tuesday, Aug. 23) members of the Board assigned to resolve the instance worked with great effort with the intent on restoring the 12U Red Squad back to the field playing football. Unfortunately, the aggressive and what was described as hostile behaviors exhibited again by the parents following the player meeting at the McFaul Center on Aug. 23 combined with the disgraceful happenings this past Saturday has left the Board with no choice other than to suspend the 2011 Season for the 12U Red Squad. Though we will be addressing the individuals directly involved in Saturdays incident further, we feel as a collective that the collaborative team concept and parental support has eroded into an aggressive environment that is not conducive to the team aspect, safety, and wellbeing of the players involved. Essentially, the behaviors exhibited by the parent body have been found to be totally and unequivocally in contradiction with the philosophy of youth sports and in direct violation with the Bel Air Football Code of Conduct.

The Bel Air Program will notify the UCYFL President that the BA 12 Red Team will voluntarily forfeit all 2011 contests and not participate in any program or league activities. All participants in Saturdays incident will be reported to the UCYFL VP of Rules for determination of further league action as well as, the Bel Air Recreation Committee reserves the right to review and impose further sanctions as they deem necessary.

Further, all player parents will be contacted within the next week to return any equipment belonging to the Terps and you will be issued your deposit check in return. The Board will submit a request to BARC to consider the issuance of a refund for your total registration minus the cost of your uniform purchase, BARC insurance assessment and other no-refundable costs associated with your registration.

Though it is difficult for most to understand at this juncture, we definitely share the sincere disappointment at arriving at this decision however, please understand that the volatility that has been demonstrated during this situation has left us no choice but to act in this manner.

Sincerely,

Bel Air Terps Review Team

(in consultation with BARC and UCYFL)

"The boys did nothing wrong," said Terps 12U Red parent Bill Pritchett, whose son has been playing in the Terps program since he was 6. "The kids are scrambling, they don't know what to do." Pritchett says there are 22 boys on the team.

A follow-up email was also sent by Bel Air Rec President Pat Egner Thursday, addressing the possibilities of the players playing for other teams or not playing and receiving full refunds.