• Sumo

By Ken Reed

Earlier this week, I wrote about disgraced track coach Alberto Salazar being banned for four years for using performance-enhancing drugs with his athletes and attempting to tamper with doping controls.

Salazar was caught due in large part to the courage of two-time Olympic athlete Kara Goucher, who blew the whistle on Salazar and his training practices. Goucher revealed tremendous integrity and character in doing so. The world of sport is better today for her ethical efforts.

The same holds true for a 17-year-old Indiana high school golfer.

This past Saturday, it looked like Kiah Parrott had fulfilled her dream of finishing in the top ten — and thus, standing on the podium — at the girls Indiana state high school golf championship. After a 78, followed by a 70, Parrott stood in sixth place on the scoreboard, good enough for a spot on the finals podium.

However, after eating lunch and glancing at the scoreboard, Parrott discovered that the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s scoring system had her at plus-3 for the tournament. She knew she’d really shot a plus-4. She checked her official scorecard and discovered the unthinkable. She had signed an incorrect scorecard.

Now she had a decision to make. She could let the incorrect plus-3 score stand and realize her dream of standing on the podium. Or, she could turn herself in and be disqualified, in effect finishing dead last in the state tournament.

Parrott decided to turn herself in.

“…I knew I was going to turn myself in,” said Parrott.

“I knew I was going to be disqualified. But there was no other option. I don’t like it when other people cheat, and if I didn’t tell anyone, I would have been cheating. It would have made me feel worse. I knew what I really shot and I would just have to live with that. It was my error.”

Parrott did the right thing but it still hurt. She shed a lot of tears on the drive home from the tournament.

After giving her some time to process what had happened, Parrott’s dad approached his daughter and shared with her what he and Kiah’s mom thought about the situation.

“I told her there is no question there is a bigger picture than standing on the podium,” he said.

“Her dream was finishing on the podium. The dream for her mom and I is for her to have integrity and character. She’s fulfilled that. Five years from now, she will be able to sit down in a job interview and explain to someone what she did as a 17-year-old.”

Kiah Parrott was a winner at the Indiana girls state golf finals this past week. The scoreboard showing her in last place simply doesn’t factor in what’s most important in sports — and life: integrity, character and sportsmanship.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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