By Jeremy Balan
The Lowell High School girls soccer team has been put on probation for four years by the San Francisco Section.
The sanction was originally reported by the Twitter feed of The Lowell, the school’s school newspaper, and has been confirmed by Lowell athletic director Rob Ray and SF Section commissioner Don Collins.
According to multiple sources involved, the disciplinary action stems from the moments after the Cardinals’ 8-0 win over Washington in the Academic Athletic Association championship game on Saturday at Boxer Stadium.
After the final whistle, eight Lowell seniors removed their jerseys to reveal T-shirts that displayed an inappropriate phrase. There was also a similar incident in the 2009 season, in which three of the eight seniors from this season’s incident were involved and suspended for.
“It violates our sportsmanship rule,” Collins said. “[Players] must be respectful, including on their clothing and attire.”
The probation’s stipulations are that if the soccer team is to violate the section’s sportsmanship guidelines again, Lowell head coach Marcos Estebez will face suspension.
The eight seniors were also officially suspended for one game if they participate in any other spring sports, but Estebez likely handed down the stiffest punishment.
Estebez said he has held out every Lowell player, including those who weren’t involved in the incident, from postseason awards and the All-AAA team. As an undefeated team and the league’s champion, the Cardinals would have likely earned most of the top awards and the majority of the All-AAA honors.
“It’s important that when people act the way they did, they know there are team consequences,” Estebez said. “They didn’t think it would affect anyone other than themselves. It was stupid.”
Estebez did not hide is displeasure with the incident.
“It was embarrassing for the program, it’s embarrassing for the sport and especially in the venue of the championship game,” Estebez said. “It was a 8-0 smackdown and we need to rub it in their faces? It was very embarrassing.”
The eight Lowell seniors involved were also required to write letters of apology to Washington and to the section, and were barred from participating in two senior events by the school.