Des Moines Lincoln High School football coach Tom Mihalovich was recently suspended when it was decided he had violated “school bullying and corporal punishment policies” after he made a sophomore run sprints and laps for saying mean things about the varsity team. From the Des Moines Register:
“Good common sense would indicate we’re past using conditioning and running in a punitive manner,” said Mike Dick, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union executive director. To use conditioning as punishment is “almost vindictive in nature.”
That’s the point. This is also why Mihalovich is considering a move to coach Sarcastaball.
Corporal punishment, defined as physical force or physical contact made with the intent to harm or cause pain, is illegal in Iowa. But the law provides a specific exemption for “reasonable requests or requirements of a student engaged in activities associated with physical education class or extracurricular athletics.”
That “reasonable requests” clause is defined by “fact-specific, context-specific” inquiries, said Thomas Mayes, an attorney for the Iowa Department of Education.
Running or extra conditioning “could be considered corporal punishment under the Code,” Mayes said, “but there is no bright line that can be drawn between what is reasonable and unreasonable. There is a difference between girls’ sports and boys’ sports, between first grade (physical education) and high school P.E. and recreational athletes versus world-class athletes.”
Without the ability to make kids run, what can coaches do? The only other punishment is to cut playing time. It’s not like any coach has ever been suspended or fired for sitting somebody’s jerk kid, right?