20/20 Report on Rockdale County High School's Basketball Championship which aired on ABC's 20/20 June 11, 1987. (9:14)
1987 Rockdale Basketball Championship
True Integrity: the dues we owe to God and our country
Mr. Cleveland Stroud had coached the basketball team, the Blue-Collar Bulldogs, of Rockdale County High School (Conyers, Georgia, U.S.A.), for 18 years before his team made it to the state championship. Stroud recalls, “It was the perfect night when they won, a night you dream of.” He was carried around the gym on the shoulders of his triumphant players and their proud parents. The local paper put his picture on the front page. But the excitement was short-lived.
Two months after the championship, during a routine grade check, Stroud discovered that one player had been academically ineligible. The player had only played 45 seconds during the regional qualifying tournament, and he wasn’t an important player. Stroud says, “I thought it was all ruined. I went through a phase where I was really depressed.”
He struggled with what to do next. Yet, his commitment to integrity led him to the right decision.
“Winning is the most important thing for any coach,” he says, “but your principles have to be higher than your goals.”
He reported the error to the league and the Bulldogs forfeited their trophy.
When the team lamented their loss in the locker room, he told them, “You’ve got to do what is honest, what is right, and what the rules say. That’s how we pay to God what’s His. People forget the scores of basketball games, but they don’t ever forget what you are made of”
(In Touch Magazine, January 1999).
SOURCE: Fr. Tony's homilies
Rockdale News — (4:13)
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