CALAIS, Maine — An incident after a boys basketball game at Calais High School has earned a Calais student a one-game suspension from a Blue Devils home game.
The incident followed a Jan. 24 game against Jonesport-Beals, won by Calais 65-62. The outcome wasn’t assured until the final horn sounded.
“A student ran onto the floor before the teams had cleared the floor,” said Dan Cohnstaedt, Calais principal, who would not identify the affected student.
While on the floor, the student reportedly imitated a prayer stance popularized by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
“It didn’t matter about the gesture, it just mattered that he ran onto the floor,” said Cohnstaedt.
Randy Morrison, Calais athletic director, has seen the gesture performed earlier this season.
“I’ve only seen it twice,” he said. No one was suspended either time, Morrison said.
Other students took up the suspended student’s cause, thinking the suspension was longer than one game.
“They thought he was banned for life,” said Cohnstaedt. “I don’t know where they got their info.”
Cohnstaedt did say he knows the student and has discussed the incident and suspension with the student and his mother.
“He’s a good kid,” said Cohnstaedt, adding, “He could see if other people ran onto the floor, too, it could be a problem.”
It’s a longstanding practice of the school to allow the teams to go to their locker rooms after the game before allowing fans onto the gym floor.
“It’s a respect thing,” said Cohnstaedt. “We make [fans] wait until players from both teams have exited the floor.”
“It’s only 40 seconds or a minute,” he added. “Whatever it takes to get off the floor.”
That keeps the teams and fans from interacting when both sides’ tempers can be heated.
That was the case Tuesday night.
“It was a pretty controversial game,” said Cohnstaedt. “There was a lot of taunting and swearing on both sides.
“Both sets of fans were passionately advocating their positions,” he said.
The suspension for going onto the floor was a first for Cohnstaedt, who said the practice of keeping fans off the floor until the players have gone to their locker rooms goes back many years.
“To the best of my knowledge, it has never been invoked,” said Cohnstaedt, who is in his fourth year as the Calais principal.
The game the student is banned from attending is Tuesday night’s boys basketball game against A.R. Gould of South Portland.
Correction: An earlier version of this story quoted Dan Cohnstaedt, Calais principal, saying that technical fouls were assessed on fans during the game. Technical fouls were not assessed on fans.