Six and a half hours.
That is how long the Oshkosh School Board sat in closed session last night deliberating the fate of West Boys Basketball Coach Brad Clark. Six and a half loooooong hours, with dozens of Clark supporters and reporters waiting for a decision. When a meeting drags on like that--and you don't know exactly what is going on in there--you begin to imagine what is actually happening behind those closed doors. Here's what I think happened:
4:30 pm to 5:30--Boardmembers are briefed on what basketball is. The Oshkosh School Board is a National Public Radio/New York Times crowd. Their exposure to hoops has probably been limited to stories about "Mr. Jeremy Lin" who has been "breaking the stereotypical model of what a National Basketball Association star player is expected to be". Given the fact that I don't see but one of the School Boardmembers at sporting events tells me they aren't real "plugged in" on that co-curricular activity--so some background information was certainly in order.
5:30 to 7:00--Brad Clark and attorney Peter Culp present their side of the case. I'm sure much of the discussion centered around why Coach Clark would ever think about yelling at student-athletes--since children today need to be coddled and reassured that "just trying is victory in and of itself". There was probably much discussion about playing time--and why all members of the team can't get equal minutes during the game--because that would be the "fair thing to do". Based on the expression on Clark's face when he left the conference room--he was not real happy about what had transpired in there.
7:00 to 8:30--The Board hears from West Principal Ann Schultz and Athletic Director Brad Jodarski. Those two were sequestered within the District Administration Building last night to keep them away from the dozens of "Team Clark believers". I would hope that during their presentation names were put to accusations--that actual dates were provided for alleged incidents--and that perspective was provided on the behavior of coaches across all sports in the District.
8:30 to 9:00--The Board orders and eats dinner. Those waiting on the meeting started bringing in food around this time--and my wife ran some Mickey D's over for me as well (LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SAY THAT I HAVE THE GREATEST WIFE IN THE WORLD). I'm guessing the Board was hungry as well and probably got some Jimmy Johns delivered.
9:00 to 9:01--Boardmembers discuss their own experiences in high school athletics. "I got beat up by the jocks in my school" and "I was a Mathlete--does that count?"
9:01 to 9:30--The board discusses the results of the recall election primary and its potential impact on the teachers union. Yes, this was not on the agenda and would not be allowed in closed session discussion--but we already know this Board doesn't really care about open meetings laws and they will do whatever they please out of the site of the public and the media.
9:30 to 10:50 pm. The Board finally settles down to discuss its exit strategy. It wouldn't surprise me if that at some point in the conversation the idea of just doing away with basketbal is discussed as it is "obviously a devisive program that does nothing to foster a positive learning experience"--plus, it makes the Board even less popular than it already is with the public at large.
Finally, at 10:50 the Board reaches its decision that Brad Clark will not be retained as West coach. However, in a stunning move that shows a complete lack of how team sports operates, a proposal is added on that Clark will be considered for the job in 2013. I'm sure the District will be flooded with applications from coaches looking for one year on the job in a program where a select few complainers were allowed to drive off the former coach--and then having the ex-coach reconsidered for the position the next year.
Of course if I was Brad Clark, I would tell the Board to take the "option of returning in 2013" and stuff it.