Eight Hawk football players suspended

            MT. PLEASANT—Eight players have been temporarily suspended from playing football for the North Sanpete Hawks, effective immediately.

            Football Coach Rhett Bird told the Messenger on Thursday morning that the players, who were not specifically named, committed infractions that went against both the UHSAA regulations, as well as the team’s own code of ethics. The players involved will miss, at minimum, the next three games, starting with last week’s game against Desert Hills.

            The specific nature of the infractions committed has not been specified by Bird, Athletic Director Cheryl Hadley or Principal Christine Straatman.

            Bird said that some of the players involved are currently missing time anyway due to injury, and that those respective players would have their suspensions enforced upon their healthy return to the lineup.

            “This week, players on our football team came forward and reported to Coach Bird violations of UHSAA and team rules,” Straatman said in a prepared statement. “Appropriate steps are being taken to address these violations as outlined in the UHSAA Handbook, NSHS Football Code of Ethics, and district and school policies.”

            Whatever the infraction was, it was disclosed by Bird as being something that, under UHSAA guidelines, would have earned the involved players a suspension of two games. Under North Sanpete football’s own “Code of Ethics” that suspension is pushed to three games.

            Straatman reported that players on the team were the first to report the infractions in detail, but she did not specify whether it was the violators reporting themselves or their teammates. Bird clarified that it was a mix of both, saying that the players held a team meeting shortly after their shutout loss to Grantsville in an effort to address concerns with the team’s success after a 2-2 start, and the infractions were found out then.

            “The senior group has been doing an awesome job at holding everyone accountable,” Bird said. “They’ve been leading it. It just came forward with the group. They just felt that they weren’t playing to the best of their ability, and it just kind of came out.”

            After being beaten by Desert Hills last Friday, the Hawks will be down six starters heading into their most difficult region game against Juab, and in their upcoming rivalry clash with Manti.