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BULLETIN: Nov. 3, 2017 — One of the nation’s greatest title-holders will not get a chance to win its 24th championship

An announcement posted this by Anne Arundel County Public Schools proclaimed perhaps the most shocking development in the history of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) field hockey championship.

The development comes from a long-standing prank on the part of the Severna Park (Md.) field hockey team, which will tend to shower the house and property of the team’s head coach with toilet paper if the team is able to win the regional tournament and make it to the state semifinal round.

This year, according to some reports, the TP-ing got out of hand, spreading to more than a dozen houses, as well as some cars. The pranking also involved pizza boxes, ketchup, and road median signs.

As a result of the prank, the 24 members of the Severna Park (Md.) varsity team and three coaches were all suspended for one game each by principal Patrick Bathras, and Anne Arundel County superintendent George Arlotto ruled that the Falcons must forfeit their place in the MPSSAA Class 4A semifinals. Taking their place for next week’s state semifinal will me Edgewater South River (Md.), who lost last week by a score of 4-1.

“They are amazing women,” head coach Ann Andrews told The Washington Post this afternoon. “They got out of hand and made some bad decisions. That doesn’t make them bad people. They’re upset they forfeited the game, but they’re more sad they let some people down.”

Given the fact that the people meting out the punishments were men, the result may have been predictable.

But lined up against some of the boorish and sometimes illegal behavior that has been traced to school sports teams over the last few years, the Severna Park punishment borders on the severe, if not the draconian.

There should have been a better solution.

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