April 20, 2011
SoCal team forfeits season after players admit to drinking beer

So is forfeiting the rest of the season too severe a punishment for the players on the Burroughs High of Southern California baseball team?

Check out this story from Gerry Gittleson of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Amid allegations an assistant coach supplied beer to the majority of the baseball team during a spring break tournament in Arizona, Burroughs High School announced Tuesday the cancellation of the rest of the season and firing of head coach J.R. Schwer and his three assistants.

Burroughs will forfeit the rest of its games, principal Emilio Urioste said.

Urioste said he learned of the allegations Friday, and by Monday he had interviewed three coaches and 18 players - 11 of whom admitted to drinking the beer - plus the remaining seven, who all said they knew about it.

"It's very disappointing because I'm in love with this school, and I've put almost 20 years of my life into this place," Urioste said.

"I'm disappointed in the decisions made, primarily at the adult level, and that's what's most disappointing. I feel badly for them - the coaches and the kids."

The incident allegedly happened in mid-March when the team stayed in hotel rooms for a tournament in Tucson.

Schwer was in his second season as head coach after serving eight years as an assistant. The team went 12-15 last year and made the playoffs.

An official school statement said the coaches have been fired, the 11 students who admitted to drinking were suspended for five days and the other seven were suspended for two days. Also, a report was filed with the Burbank Police Department in cooperation with Arizona law enforcement for contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Burroughs, which has a 6-8 overall record and 3-2 mark in Pacific League play, was scheduled to play Glendale on Monday.

Neither Schwer nor any of the players were available for comment.

Bob Hart, head coach at neighborhood rival Burbank, said it was "a sad situation."

"Personally, I'm not very happy about it," Hart said. "I hate to see something like this happen to any team. The Burroughs game is a game we look forward to and the kids look forward to, so this is not something we wanted to see happen. It's a bad situation all the way around."

The Burroughs JV and freshmen teams will continue to play, Urioste said. When the varsity players return from their suspensions, they will continue sixth-period baseball practice, with athletic director and former head coach Jose Valle taking over as interim coach, Urioste said.

"We're in the process of moving forward and doing the right thing for the future of the program," Urioste said.

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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