Tabiona High School was fined and put on probation Friday for not dealing with unruly fans who taunted opposing players and yelled racial slurs at an opposing basketball coach.
A panel of five administrators assembled from the executive committee of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) fined Tabiona High School $6,000, fined Tabiona H.S. Principal Darin Jenkins and Basketball Coach Lee Gines $250 each, reprimanded both men, and admonished the school to “engage with the school and the community to discuss and remedy the evils of racism.”
In addition, Tabiona H.S. was given a list of conditions aimed at monitoring the behavior of Leon Casper, a fan, and preventing any future racial or derogatory comments. Casper’s behavior is described as “morally reprehensible and unacceptable,” in the panel’s report.
“Mr. Casper’s willingness to shout racist slurs created a clear and present danger to the students attending that basketball game (Jan. 18),” the report states. “Historically, racial slurs and the prejudice that accompanies them have led to violence.”
A group of Tabiona fans, identified in a video taunting an opposing player during a game on February 15, are to be contacted by the school and notified that “further taunting or harassment of opposition players can result in removal or injunctive action.” The report describes the behavior of some Tabiona fans as despicable.
Intermountain Christian School was fined $1,000 and its coach, Tim Drisdom was fined $250 and placed on probation for the first two games of the 2019-2020 basketball season in connection with events that occurred during games on January 18 and February 15.
Drisdom’s punishment stems from an incident following the February 15 game where he grabbed the hand of a Tabiona player and allegedly threatened the player’s life according to the player. Drisdom testified to the panel that he did not threaten the player, but only offered advice.
The $6,000 in fines relate to four violations against Tabiona. They include lack of institutional control in the failure to supervise Casper, following his racial outburst. Lack of institutional control in the failure to remove Casper from the gym following his comments made to Coach Drisdom. Lack of institutional control in the failure and violation of the Sportsmanship Rules by permitting Casper to sit directly in front of the ICS team bench and lack of institutional control in the failure to supervise and remove “the rabid fans,” who taunted an ICS player.
The panel directed Principal Jenkins to ask Casper not to attend any Tabiona activity sponsored by UHSAA for one year. After that or if he refuses, Casper is to be accompanied by a “minder,” to assure that he doesn’t make racial slurs or harass any opposing player or coach. Casper is to sit behind the Tabiona bench at least ten rows from the playing floor and the minder is required to submit a report on his behavior after each game.
During the three-year probation period, all sports at Tabiona H.S. are subject to sportsmanship audits by UHSAA during each sports season. UHSAA may also conduct discretionary audits and the costs will be paid by Tabiona H.S. Should any of the audits disclose violations of UHSAA sportsmanship rules, that sport will play all of its games in the following season on the road, according to the panel’s report.
Further, the report, which includes 12 pages of details on a string of incidents, casts a pall on Tabiona’s 2019 State Basketball Championship and calls into question the judgment of Principal Jenkins and his administration. One paragraph explains that Jenkins failure to properly handle Casper created a situation where Drisdom and his players were “unnecessarily upset, anxious, fearful, angry and otherwise distracted by this series of events.”
“The players and coach may not have played to the best of their ability because of this remarkable and preventable distraction,” the report states. “It is not lost on this panel that the winning of this game had broad consequences.”