Dear Coach: I'm a Little League administrator, and this season one of our teams used an overage player. The coach admits he knew about the infraction. What disciplinary action should I take?
Dear Lawman: During the regular season Little League rules leave such matters to the discretion of local league administrators. (During the Little League tournament the illegal player would be barred from further competition and his team made to forfeit the most recent game in which he played.) Says Jake Hardison, Virginia's Little League state coordinator, "I'd remove the player from the team and ban the coach from managing." As for forfeiting games, beware of penalizing players for a violation they had nothing to do with. "By removing the coach and the boy," says Hardison, "you're taking action without hurting the other kids."
Dear Coach: My brother, a recent college graduate, bets on every sporting event he sees. He doesn't bet large sums and has no money troubles, but I'm still concerned. Does he have a problem?
Dear Action: Not yet, but stay alert. "If your brother can't watch a game without betting, that's a warning," says Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. "The test is whether games provide any enjoyment if he doesn't have a bet down. If he's watching camel racing out of Saudi Arabia at 4 a.m., that would indicate sports may be just an excuse to bet." Early on, the amount of the bets is less significant than frequency. "Most sports gamblers start small," says Whyte. "After a while small bets aren't enough. That's when real problems set in."