Friday night's 91-0 blowout by the football team of Aledo High School in Parker County may not be bullying, but it does tell us something about high school football in Texas.
Aledo is one of the state's 4-A powerhouses, undefeated and with a 61 point margin of victory. But Friday night's 91-0 victory may have gone too far.
"You goal is to win, but certainly not to humiliate," said Stan Laing, the Executive Director of Athletics at the San Antonio Northside ISD.
A parent of a player for Ft. Worth Western Hills High, which was on the receiving end of the trouncing, has filed a formal bullying complaint against Aledo and their coach. Laing doesn't think the blowout was bullying, he does think it was one of the lessons that you can learn from high school sports.
"On the side that you're facing adversity, you learn to deal with adversity," he said.
Michael Josephson, who is an expert on sports ethics, says in cases like this, there should be a modified 'mercy rule' in place, where the team on the losing end could choose to 'forfeit' the game.
He says it does not make sense for coaches, who have taught their students all year to try their hardest, to suddenly tell students that in certain cases, they should not try very hard.
"I am very nervous about a rule that says 'don't really try'," he said. "I think that is as humiliating to me as to run up the score."
Laing agrees that the UIL should discuss a rule which could be voluntarily enforced at the request of a team on the losing end of a major blowout.
He says in UIL public school high school football, where recruiting is not allowed, sometimes two teams come up against each other where one team is clearly superior to the others. He says in those cases, coaches can, in his words, 'speed up the game,' without telling kids not to do their best.
"A coach that has maybe less talent than other teams, you can tell coaches that it might be time to speed up the game on that side as well."
Examples of speeding up the game include waiting as long as possible between snaps, running only running plays to keep the clock running, and minimize timeouts and substitutions.
"You look at the standpoint as far as athletics, it is all about competition," Laing said. "There are valuable lessons to learn on the positive side of a victory, and also powerful lessons to learn when dealing with adversity."