Severna Park boots vandals from team


/TC Five players have been removed from Severna Park High's boys soccer team for the rest of the season because of their involvement in the vandalism of Broadneck High's stadium field last month.

The players, whose names were not released by the school, are being reprimanded for an incident that Broadneck athletic director Ken Kazmarek said took place during the weekend of Sept. 26-27. The teams met in a Sept. 21 game won by Severna Park, 3-0.

According to Broadneck officials, vandals dug the final score of the game between the schools into the Bruins' newly laid turf. Salt was poured into the numbers to prevent grass from growing.

"The numbers are 10-12 feet long. It was a very, very damaging type of vandalism," Kazmarek said.

Severna Park assistant principal Harvey Tate said a police report had been filed, and that the players would make restitution. They have not been suspended from school, "but they are off the team for the remainder of this season, and that is probably the worst punishment of all," Tate said.

Severna Park's first game since the dismissals is at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow against Northeast.

"This is a really sad situation because they are good kids with good parents," Tate said. "We are not condoning this, but we're not criminalizing the kids, either, because we look at this, and so does Broadneck, as a case of kids who made a mistake. What they did was serious and unlawful, but they did not intentionally break the law. It was adolescent behavior."

Kazmarek said the cost of replacing the sod "is under consideration," and the school still isn't sure how it will handle any attempted repairs.

"It's going to take quite a while for the field to be restored to its original state," he said.

For now, the numbers have been filled in with dirt and the Bruins continue to use the stadium for athletic events.

"We just have to make do with what we've got. We can't possibly afford not to use the stadium. It's a rich source of gate receipts," Kazmarek said.

"It's hard to think that people would not consider the ramifications of the type of damage they did. This isn't just a soccer field, it's a multipurpose stadium field. We waited many years and many seasons for this. It's quite an important place for us. Unfortunately, people don't take that into consideration."

Kazmarek added that Broadneck officials are satisfied with the Severna Park administration's handling of the situation.

"I don't think something like this can be tolerated, in any way, in any form, anywhere in the county, no matter the school. Hopefully, the fact that they were caught and have been dealt with will deter any problems in the future," he said.

Severna Park coach Don Gregg, whose team is tied with Centennial for the No. 2 ranking in the metro area, would not give any specific information on the players involved.

"I would rather not talk about it because it's negative," he said. "If we do something good, nobody cares. When something negative happens, everybody wants to hear about it.

"I feel like the famous Alabama coach whose boat sank, so he walked across the water. The next day, the story read that the coach failed the swimming test."

Broadneck began replacing the stadium sod in the spring, and the first athletic events on the new grass took place last month.

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