Calais withdraws 1-game ban on student who rushed basketball court to ‘Tebow’

Posted Jan. 31, 2012, at 4:10 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 31, 2012, at 7:09 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — The superintendent for the school district that includes Calais High School has removed the one-game ban handed down to a Calais student last week.

The student, who has not been named by school officials and who has not accepted requests for comment, drew the ban for running onto the court before the players left the floor after the Jan. 24 boys basketball game in Calais between the Blue Devils and the Jonesport-Beals Royals. Calais won that game 65-62, and the student celebrated by running onto the court and “Tebowing” — taking a prayer stance popularized by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Calais principal Dan Cohnstaedt said Monday there is a longstanding practice at the school that fans stay off the court until after the players leave the floor.

The student appealed the ban to Union 106 Superintendent James Underwood, and Underwood decided on Tuesday to reverse the ban.

“The student appealed the consequence” of running onto the floor to perform Tebow’s stance, he said.

“I have removed his suspension from the game,” said Underwood.

Without the lifting of the one-game ban, the student would have had to miss Tuesday night’s boys basketball game against A.R. Gould of South Portland.

“It’s fairly simple,” said Underwood. “It was an overreaction, an overreaction all around to a pretty innocuous situation.”

Underwood felt the situation needed to be put back into perspective.

“I have spoken to all the parties, and I think everybody agrees it was an overreaction,” said Underwood.

As for the practice of keeping fans off the court until the players leave the floor, Underwood believes it should remain.

“I would like it to remain a common social practice,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something we need to put [into writing].”

Before the superintendent’s decision, a movement had grown among Calais students at the school to appeal the ban. A social networking site was started and it registered more than 200 supporters. The site includes artwork of the prayer stance that Tebow would perform in the end zone or on the sideline at games.

This is not the first incident in the U.S. in which Tebowing conflicted with school practices or policies.

In December, according to media reports, four high school student-athletes in New York were suspended for one day for Tebowing in the hallways, although two of the suspensions later were rescinded.

As for the Calais situation, Underwood said that for all involved, “Life is back to normal.”

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