As Dorman won a unanimous vote Wednesday by the South Carolina High School League Executive Committee that cleared it to play in the GEICO Nationals tournament in New York City in April, an event considered the national championship for high school basketball (the announcement as the vote was taken is seen below, with apologies for the typo)…..
…..it culminated a weeks long saga that saw the Cavaliers denied by SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singles in their initial attempt to get clearance to make the trip.
At the time of their rejection, the SCHSL posted the release below….
“We regret the public misconception brought about from the denial of Dorman High School’s request to participate in an unsanctioned national competition. It is my duty to follow the Rules and Regulations as well as By-laws set forth by the SCHSL membership. As always, member schools are provided the opportunity to present their appeal to the Executive Committee for further review and possible override of the rules. We are proud of the Dorman High basketball team’s accomplishments thus far this season.”
As a follow-up, here is how the entire situation occurred, the “play-by-play” from Wednesday’s hearing, and some closing thoughts.
-Dorman has won three straight 5A state titles and this season’s team looks more imposing than the previous three, based on its 24-1 record, its 24-game winning streak, the decisiveness of its wins, a Beach Ball Classic championship, and its lone loss to predominant national power Oak Hill Academy, by five points in Rock Hill in December.
-With what they’ve become, they’re the unique public school program that’s attractive to the event in New York City.
-The school and its district were contacted by the promoter of the tournament. Singleton noted in Wednesday’s hearing that he felt it would have been more appropriate if he were contacted first. He did indicate after the hearing that he would likely have simply told the promoter of the league’s rules. You can only wonder had that been the scenario if Dorman would have ever heard from the event.
-Dorman and its school district officials followed the appropriate channels and went to the league with their request, per their testimony Wednesday.
-Singleton proceeded accordingly in his interpretation of the rules. Too often, some think of commissioners as have sweeping powers. In essence, they’re stewards of the much larger body they serve. His role is to apply the rules objectively, not subjectively. It appears he did just that, despite comments (noted below) that he made in Wednesday’s hearing that gave the impression he was personally against Dorman competing in such an event.
-Dorman was represented at the hearing by District 6 School superintendent Darryl Owings, Dorman High School Principal Bryant Roberson, Athletic Director Flynn Harrell and Basketball Coach Thomas Ryan.
-Harrell noted in the hearing that while Dorman was on the tournament’s short list for an invitation at the time of the initial proposal SCHSL, they have since received a formal invitation to compete in the tournament.
-Roberson made the point that is was more than just a basketball event for the Dorman players, as a visit to New York would serve as an educational opportunity. He noted afterword that the trip will include visits by the team to places like Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the 9-11 Memorial site.
-An open discussion by executive committee members, it was pointed out the positive impact of such a trip for the players in addition to just basketball.
-In its presentation before the committee, Dorman officials noted that the tournament organizer will pay the SCHSL $10,000 as part of the agreement. In addition to that, Dorman has also indicated that it will yield at least four practices during the spring and summer SCHSL team open. That number could grow to six if Dorman plays in three games in the April event.
-What happens now: Dorman tries to close-out the regular season Friday with a victory and then win five more games to secure a fourth straight state title.
-In late March, they’ll reassemble and being preparation to compete against seven other elite teams on a national level, a first for a Palmetto State school.
Below are the tweets I sent out during the hearing Wednesday that give an idea of the discussion that took place.