The Lowell High School Softball team had an amazing season.  They finished the regular season as the OK White Conference champions and were preparing for the playoffs until a mistake was uncovered.

Due to a scheduling misunderstanding, the Lowell High School Softball team played one more game than the Michigan High School Athletic Association allows to be played during the regular season.  The penalty for the violation is to be banned from the post-season.

Should the team have been allowed to play in the post-season?

The rule that limits games played is there to protect the students.  It's a good rule.  It sets a reasonable limit on the number of games that can be played during the regular season and keeps student athletes from being overworked. explains:

“Schools should not exceed a combination of 56 games and dates of competition,” said MHSAA executive director John Johnson. “For baseball and softball, that magic number is 56, and that number in Lowell’s case had been exceeded. The penalty is no post-season tournament.”

Lowell athletic director Barry Hobrla said the Red Arrows exceeded that number by one game.

“The problem was that we thought that the Reeths-Puffer Tournament was a three-game tournament, and we ended up playing four,” Hobrla said. “It was our first year in the tournament, and we didn’t catch it. Our only recourse was to not play in the state tournament.

“We missed it.”

Give credit to Lowell Athletic Director Barry Hobrla for admitting and explaining the mistake.  That's refreshing.  But the fact remains that the rule was violated.

As much as I would love to have seen the team compete in the post-season, I feel enforcing the rule was the right thing to do.  Enforcing the rule every time there is a violation ultimately helps to protect both current and future student athletes.  But I still feel terrible for the team, especially the seniors.