New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules regarding sportsmanship should be reviewed and stiffened. No way should a game that degenerates into a multi-person brawl in which people are injured be resumed afterward, but that is what happened Friday night in a boys basketball game between Glens Falls and Hudson Falls.
Not only should games not be restarted, but in cases like this one, in which players from both teams engaged in bad sportsmanship and violence, both teams should be assigned a loss for the game. If the episode is egregious -- and this one, in which a police officer who tried to intervene suffered a hurt hand and got knocked out, probably qualifies -- then both teams should be disqualified from the playoffs. If the association determines that one team was more at fault, then that team should be disqualified from the playoffs.
Strict rules like that will not lead to teams actually being disqualified, because players can control themselves, and they will when they know a lot is at stake. The reason they allow themselves to fight now is they know punishment will be light or nonexistent.
This works in professional sports. Hockey players, known for fighting, almost never fight during the playoffs, because they don't want to risk drawing a game-changing penalty. Likewise in professional soccer, fighting is rare because the penalties for it are severe.
Of course, high school players shouldn't behave this way, regardless of the penalties. Of course, coaches should have their own strict rules to punish such poor sportsmanship. But coaches will be inconsistent, and some players will behave badly if they know they can get away with it. The rules should be reformed for all public high schools to make clear that, when it comes to sportsmanship, standards are high, and when it comes to violence, tolerance is low.