Resolution may return Beavers to Viking coaching staff
Eric Beavers is just a teacher now, but the former quarterback with the University of Nevada may return to the Viking coaching roster in a matter days.
He’s already helped interim varsity co-head coaches Chris Morgan and Rod Robison guide the team from where he left off.
In a new development, South Tahoe Athletic Administrator Jack Stafford will meet with Beavers today to discuss his future role in program this year.
On Thursday night, Beavers met with parents and Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn and staff at her house to discuss the issue and how to move forward.
“A lot has been clarified, and the stuff that needs to be hammered out is fairly clear now,” Beavers said following the meeting.
“He and Jack Stafford are meeting to talk about that and share by Monday where all the pieces can fit together and where Beavers can be an effective member within the program,” Scheerhorn said.
Scheerhorn added that she plans to review and potentially revise policies and guidelines for the athletic program and look at how the district can better manage coaching contracts.
She said she will also be consider a committee that could be used to help solve similar issues.
“I’m real proud of the parents and the commitment of the parents and how we can be open and resolve a problem,” Scheerhorn said.
Earlier in the day, Stafford said he wasn’t sure if and how Beavers could be included in the program and that it required sitting down with the former coach to discuss the situation.
“Right now, I think the dust hasn’t settled yet, at least from my perspective,” he said. “I told (the other coaches), ‘Give me a little of time on that.’ I would like to talk to the superintendent. I mean, there are some issues here.”
Beavers resigned as head varsity coach Tuesday — just two days before the start of the football season — after speaking with the administration about coaching the JV program and not the varsity.
The issue came to a head after months of intermittent discussion as to how Beavers would run the program.
Earlier this summer, Beavers proposed that the school not field a varsity team because most of his players had not completed an off-season conditioning program, which would likely equate to another 0-9 season against Northern Nevada 4A schools.
In a meeting where the parents of coaches took a vote on how they should solve the problem, the end result, Stafford said, was that fielding a varsity, JV and frosh teams was critical.
The alternative would mean that seniors would be prohibited from playing their last year in school, and it would stack the JV program with juniors, a team typically filled by sophomores.
Stafford also said that not fielding a varsity team could draw ire from the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Forcing the school to participate in a California-sanctioned program would require the team commute over Echo Summit, a dangerous proposition during fall and winter. Stafford noted other disadvantages if the school lost its “guest” status as a California-based school in the NIAA.
That put Beavers back to square one: either field the varsity program and allow players who didn’t complete the conditioning requirement to play, coach the JV, or step down as coach.
Moreover, the administration was concerned that Beavers could be violating rules with the NIAA.
“What you ask of these young people to do, to be in condition is up to you, but you can’t disobide by the rules … of the NIAA,” said Diane Scheerhorn Tuesday.
The administration said they thought Beavers planned to kick players who had not completed the program off the team. NIAA rules state that coach/athlete off-season conditioning “must be voluntary and may not be a prerequisite for a tryout for a team by the pupil in the out of season.”
If Beavers benched the players, younger players would have to compete with older, stronger programs, putting their safety at risk.
Come July, the administration begin meeting with Beavers on how he should handle the issue, but refrained from giving the second-year coach any direct order until August.
Beavers, however, refused to resign initially because he thought it would set a bad example for the players.
The administration wouldn’t allow Beavers, who it said was hired as the head varsity coach, to supplant the JV coaches, and show the students that the head of the program was discriminating between students based on a off-season program.
In addition, that put the administration in a position where it would either grant Beavers the option of choosing which team he wanted to coach, a precedent that would have its drawbacks philosophically as well as with coaches that had similar unruly classes.
That, in part led to a delay in a final decision.
Stafford said he respected Beavers and his higher standard, but that it was creating problems that could jeopardize sports at STHS.
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