On the Nixa No Show

When it was announced earlier this week that Nixa had reneged on its chance to play a game against Helias on national TV, Helias coach Phil Pitts was careful to point out all the possibilities they had offered Nixa to still play the game on ESPNU. They could move the game to Sunday night...and play the game either in JC or in Nixa. "School the next day" said Nixa. Helias could come to Nixa and play Sunday afternoon and ESPNU would come too. Still no go.

The problem for Nixa is this:

Playing status for Nixa's Murphy uncertain

Kary Booher, News-Leader7:49 p.m. CDT July 25, 2014

Nixa High School senior running back Alec Murphy, a recent commit to Mississippi State's football team, is facing a possible suspension that could prevent him from playing in a nationally televised game on ESPNU on Aug. 24.

Murphy, 18, was cited in a shoplifting incident June 2 at the Nixa Walmart Supercenter, according to a Nixa police incident report.

Murphy recently paid a $100 fine and court costs in Nixa Municipal Court after pleading guilty under "defective equipment," Nixa city spokeswoman Jill Finney confirmed Friday.

Finney said she could not legally elaborate on initial charges. However, it's clear that Murphy pleaded down to what amounts to a traffic citation. In Missouri, theft of less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and no more than a $1,000 fine.

"It was a stupid decision," Murphy said Friday, adding that he will meet with Nixa's activities director, Brandon Clark, next Friday in order to determine his playing status.

The Eagles are scheduled to play their season opener Aug. 24 at Jefferson City Helias. ESPNU is televising because the game features Murphy as well as Helias senior tight end Hale Hentges, a recruit of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Murphy's grandmother, Bonnie Parkison, explained to the News-Leader that the family has fallen on hard financial times in the past eight months. She said she did not excuse what Murphy did, ordering him in June to tell coaches immediately.

"He has paid emotionally a great price," Parkison said. "Alec is buying groceries for us. He and I are in this together. This kid is under an enormous amount of pressure."

Nixa Public Schools has a citizenship standards policy for student-athletes.

According to the policy, "a single serious breach of good conduct either in or out of school, during the school sport season or during the offseason, may be sufficient cause for declaring a student ineligible to participate in any school activity."

"Behavior not in compliance may result in suspension or expulsion from all extra-curricular activities," according to the policy, which goes on to state, " Any violations occurring during the offseason will result in consequences the next season of competition."

The school district, citing privacy laws, declined to comment directly Friday. "Any discipline issues regarding student-athletes are handled according to policies and procedures," said Zac Rantz, spokesman for Nixa Public Schools.

Football coach Rich Rehagen also declined comment, referring all questions to the administration.

A Walmart security employee accused Murphy of taking a pair of Reebok tennis shoes valued at $30.09 and wearing the shoes while exiting the lawn and garden area, the incident report noted.

The court case came less than a year after Murphy was a News-Leader All USA-Ozarks selection. Last fall, he rushed for 1,973 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.

His performance led to offers from Iowa, Illinois, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Mississippi State finished 7-6 last season, winning its final three games, including one against rival Ole Miss and a 44-7 victory against Rice in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.

So...Nixa's best player will be suspended for the game...and suddenly it's too hot in August to play on a Sunday afternoon on national TV. It certainly appears Nixa is trying to save this kid more emotional trauma from having his story told to a national audience. I at first was outraged and extremely cynical when I read about this situation, but now I'll admit that I'm having second thoughts. You've got to feel bad for the kid...I mean it was a $30 pair of tennis shoes...and now he's let not only his teammates, but Helias players and fans down.

What do you think?

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