Is running up a football score bullying?

A high school team in Texas beat its Fort Worth-area opponent 91-0 under some Friday night lights. So a parent filed a bullying complaint against the coaches of the victorious squad.

The Aledo school district superintendent said he will treat the allegations as he would any other bullying charge. “We have to do an investigation and make sure there’s no legitimacy to it,” giving a perhaps-unintended glimpse into how seriously he considers other bullying allegations.

There was nothing unfair about the score, he said, “other than the fact that our players were better than their players.”

“I would never ask our kids not to play hard,” Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan told a local TV station. “I would never tell them, ‘Go out and let them score’. That’s not what you want to teach kids.”

It’s not possible for me to read this story without thinking of my favorite all-time NewsCut effort. It was 2010, when the Wrenshall, Minn., girl’s basketball squad made national news for losing 65-0.

I went to meet them and asked them whether they wish other teams would take it easy on them?

“We had one school that wanted our varsity to play their JV and our JV to play their junior high … that wasn’t going to happen because we’re going to play at the level we’re at,” the team’s co-captain said.

They weren’t a particularly good team, and most of the kids have probably graduated and gone on to bigger things now. Losing wasn’t any fun, but if the losing squad in Texas is as smart and mature as the kids in Wrenshall were, then high school sports is doing what it’s ultimately supposed to do.

  • DavidG

    In and of itself? It’s hard to see that as bullying. But depending on how the coaches and players on the winning team behaved, it could be a part of it.

    Much simpler to make a case that it’s merely unsportsmanlike,

  • Cara Ashenbrener

    When my daughter played soccer the coach would try to make it harder for our team when they were outplaying the other team. He felt it was insulting to ‘take it easy’ on the other team, but didn’t want to embarrass them either.

    Welcome back Bob!

  • jaime

    I played high schools sports for a small school in rural MN and we weren’t very good. But I think if the better schools had played their JV squad or “let us score” it would have been insulting. Isn’t there a 10-run rule in football like there is in baseball? If not, perhaps the MNSHSL should consider giving refs the authority to either call the game or ask the coaches of each team if they want to call the game.

  • Javscade

    Stop being a bunch of ******* and man up! This is a sport where there is a winner and a loser! Let them get their ass kicked so they learn from that instead of giving a trophy to everyone to be “fair” Calling it Bullying is absurd! >:/

  • Onan

    Bullying? No.

    Poor sportsmanship? Yes.

  • mason

    I read in a different article that the winning coach pulled his starers after 20 plays.

    Then he pulled his second string.

    Then his 3rd string running back, a freshman, scored 2 TDs.

    Short of just ending the game, I’m not sure what else they could have done.

    • Bob Collins

      If there’s to be fault assigned here, I think it rests with whomever at the school who put an obviously superior team on the schedule.