Ansbach student suspended for altering Super Six football game program
November 17, 2006
An act of cybervandalism that inflicted sour memories on the Naples High School football team has resulted in the 10-day suspension of an Ansbach Middle/High School student.
The high school student, whose name is being withheld because of his age, confessed to tampering with the Naples roster printed in the Super Six football program sold at the Nov. 4 championship tripleheader, said Dennis Bohannon, a spokesman for Department of Defense Dependents School-Europe.
The tampering listed erroneous — and sometimes derogatory — names for some Naples players. Other changes included listing one player’s position as “Water’boy” and another’s hometown as “I’luv’men,” Ind.
“We were hurt more than anything,” said 18-year-old senior Tyler White, Naples kicker and punter whose last name was altered in the program.
“This is something we wanted to look back on — our championship game. We worked so hard to get there. But now I can’t show anyone the program.”
Some called the incident a prank by a misguided teen who might have thought he was being funny. Others were angered that not only were the keepsakes ruined, but also the fans had to pay 50 cents for them.
The name changes led Stars and Stripes to misidentify Naples running back B.J. Taylor in a photo caption in the Nov. 5 edition.
“My heart sank when I saw that picture,” said Ansbach football coach Marcus George, who discovered the tampering after the games ended.
George, who conceived the idea of the Super Six tripleheader in which all three division championships are played at one site, was responsible for gathering information for the program. Naples suffered a last-minute 27-24 loss to Bitburg in the European Division II championship game.
“It was just heartbreaking,” said parent Wendy Hejab, who bought six programs, a couple for herself as keepsakes, one to send home to her son’s grandmother, and a few for Naples parents who couldn’t make it to the game in Baumholder, Germany.
The Ansbach student acted alone and offered no reason for his actions, Bohannon said. Information technology specialists from the school system’s central headquarters helped in the investigation to identify the student.
“It is very unfortunate that an event as popular as Super Six football was marred by the poor judgment of a single student,” Bohannon wrote in an e-mail.
Ansbach principal J.R. Rowland wrote letters of apology to the Naples principal, parents and players, and has offered a corrected program for Naples to print for keepsake purposes.
The money collected from the sale of the program paid for its production, Bohannon said.