By Parijat Jha

Imagine you have worked for years to bring a championship to your high school. You have put in the hours of work, but in the end, your senior season is cut short.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association rulebook states that each golf team can schedule 18 matches and one scrimmage a season. In recent years UA coaches have over-scheduled during the season and are now paying the consequences.

First-year coach Ron Mautz already had big shoes to fill in coaching a program with 17 state titles, however this disruption has added even more pressure. The program’s past coaches may be a reason that the team had been played too much.

According to Mautz, his predecessors had a misconception of the implications of the rules. Previous coaches interpreted the 18 match per player limit as individual regulation, rather than a team limit. With players switching between varsity and JV, the team scheduled over 20 matches a year. When doing this, no player participated in more than 18 varsity matches; unfortunately, as a team the rule was broken. After learning that they had broken rules, the coach reported the discrepancy.

“When we found out that we hadn’t followed the rules, we admitted to our mistakes, but we aren’t the only team who did this,” Mautz said. “So many teams all over the state are making the same mistakes, the only difference is that they are not coming clean.”

As a result of the mistake, the JV team’s annual match limit decreased from 18 to 13 for a three year period. The varsity team’s game limit  was reduced to 15 for one-year. The penalty may not seem severe, but the effects dig deeper than they seem. Senior captain Chris Watson noticed a difference in experience in younger players.

“The younger players don’t gain as much experience,” he said. “With less experience they don’t develop as much.”

For the past seven years, according to the OHSAA, the varsity golf team at Arlington has played too many regular season matches. Their penalty for is a limited amount of regular season games for three years.

“We just need to be more careful in the future. I was put in a tough position.” Mautz said. “We have to live with the consequences, and in the end we will still try to put our best foot forward and beat our opponents.”  •