State panel decides on athletes

Monday, September 13, 2004

If you have a question, e-mail factorfiction@semissourian.com or call Speak Out (334-5111) and identify your call as a question for "Fact or fiction?"

Q: Is it true that public high school athletes can gain an extra year of eligibility through the process of what's called red-shirting?

A: According to Southeast Missourian sports reporter Jeremy Joffray: "What the question is referring to was once a common practice in big football states such as Texas. Many parents would hold back a kid just so he would be bigger and stronger once he reached high school. Rules were put into place to make sure children held back were held back for justifiable reasons.

"As far as kids in high school doing it here, there is a rule that basically states a player can participate in high school sports for four years only."

In rare situations, exceptions to the rule are made due to "hardships." That was the case with a current Central High School student and star basketball player, who was declared eligible for sports this year due to moves as a foster child, although he had originally enrolled in high school elsewhere in the fall of 2000. Exceptions are made by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, not by local schools.

Q: Did John Kerry really say that he would only take military action as president if it were approved by the United Nations, like Sen. Zell Miller charged at the Republican convention?

A: I will leave the interpreting of what Kerry would do as president to you. But in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, he said: "I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security."

Q: My son goes to Central High School and recently told me there's going to be two Olympic-sized pools built at the school. The students are being told it's going to cost $6 million. Is this fact or fiction?

A: According to superintendent Mark Bowles, this is pure fiction. "We have no plans at all for any facilities upgrade." In fact, according to Bowles, there are no plans for facilities upgrades anywhere in the system except for some possible work at the alternative school.

Q: In the world of Fed Ex, what does a person do that holds the position of "captain"?

A: "That is the main pilot in charge of the aircraft, one of the 645 aircraft that flies around the world for us," said Ed Coleman, spokesman for Federal Express. "In a cockpit, you would have a captain and a first officer. Some refer to it as a pilot and a co-pilot. On some Fed Ex aircraft, you might have a flight engineer, who would be a third pilot. The captain is the pilot in charge."

Q: Is it true that Heidi Hall can be reached at hhall@semissourian.com?

A: No. The best way to reach Heidi is at hhall@tampatrib.com. I'm sure she would enjoy any communication from fans of her column.

Jon K. Rust is co-president of Rust Communications.

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