YahooOne of Oregon’s top Class 4A playoff contenders was forced to play its state quarterfinal playoff game without one of its defensive stalwarts for one of the more bizarre reasons imaginable: His cleats had been deemed too long … a week earlier. As first reported by the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Philomath (Ore.) High linebacker Trent Hardin, a two-year starter for the Class 4A contender, was suspended for his squad’s 35-28, season-ending loss to Turner (Ore.) Cascade High. As the final scoreline showed, the absence of Hardin was pivotal. Yet the legitimacy of Hardin’s suspension was certainly up for debate. Hardin was kicked out of Philomath’s first-round playoff victory against Sweet Home (Ore.) High at halftime when officials judged the studs on his cleats to be too long for use in a game. With a missed half already under Hardin’s belt there was a valid question as to whether there was any reason for him to sit out another full game. The decision to ban Hardin came from the Oregon Scholastic Activities Association, which determined that the player’s use of illegal, screw-in cleats warranted more than a one-half suspension. That’s a harsh verdict for an athlete who had absolutely no idea he was doing anything wrong because even his coach didn’t realize that the team couldn’t use those elongated cleats.

High school football regulations are a joke. I should know — I played an entire half season of high school football. So trust me when I say that the decision to sit Trent Hardin during a playoff game for some cleat technicality is 100% unquestionable nit-picky un-American bullshit.

Part of the problem here is obviously Oregon’s lack of high school football gambling. You can bet your girthy ass that this would never have happened in Miami or Vegas. Too much money and pride on the line to be letting some skinny punk bitch in a zebra uniform keep the star LB out of the game. Ref would be too scared of getting his face sliced in the parking lot to pull some authoritative nonsense like this. Cleat length? Get real, homey.