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Athletic Event Rule Change Majorly Impacts Athletes and Student Body

by Allie Fritchel

Point Loma High School has recently made critical changes affecting the overall student body, and, in particular, the football players. These changes were implemented after demonstrations of disorderly and unrestrained behavior in the football stands, causing staff members and officials to claim the student fans to be “out of control.” Excessive amounts of food throwing, booing, cussing, and physical aggression towards other students created a need for higher disciplinary measures to be taken in order to manage this chaotic environment. As Principal Kelly Lowry stated, “The homecoming football game was the last straw. There were three physical fights in one game causing SDPD to be called to back up school police.” He continued, “The rule change was a very sad decision to make, but it felt like the only option.”

The driving question remains: what steps do we take next? This recurring issue could potentially cost Point Loma’s sports teams their wins and overall rankings. However, recent changes have also reduced support from our student body and negatively impacted Point Loma students schoolwide.

The disciplinary actions that were put into place as of September 28th, 2022 were made up of a series of new rules and restrictions. It included a separation of upper and underclassmen within the stands, a signed athletic contract, G.P.A. requirements to attend, and the threat of stopping gameplay altogether if student conduct continued to be poor. Further, outside bags were no longer allowed in, and milkshakes previously sold were now prohibited. These rules have been enforced to try and reconstruct and redirect the energy of the student sections into a more positive light. Though intentions were constructive, these rules have fallen short of achieving what they were put into place for. Point Loma students turned a blind eye to new restrictions, and a game boycott was the end result. The population in the student section decreased dramatically, and there were little to no student fans present in the audience at the following game. But it didn’t stop there; in the next several games, the community as a whole didn’t support our athletic teams at the same level as before.

Unfortunately, in addition to negatively impacting the experience of the student body, the changes also greatly impacted our athletes - in particular, Point Loma’s football players.

Senior Emmett Jacobson (starting cornerback) said, “We worked all year to play in front of our family and friends and without students it felt almost demoralizing.”

He added that, “Once the rules changed the energy felt completely drained and the game felt more like youth football than a high school football game.”

Another teammate, junior Ryan Burdine, stated that, “It made the team feel underappreciated and all intensity of the game was lost.” Based upon the feedback from the football team, the student section’s energy and encouragement - or a lack thereof - means a great deal to the athletes.

As we move forward into future sports seasons and football games in years to come, what as a community can we do to prevent complications like these? It starts with each student individually, and with taking on the mindset of leading by example. If you see issues within the stands, say something, because students are more likely to listen to their peers than a staff member. Act accordingly not because you feel you have to, but to properly show your support and be there for your school’s athletic teams. Ultimately, it needs to be a joined effort within the Point Loma community to be better, and bring the school’s spirit back!


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