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Athlete in center of Twitter storm over discipline

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

A top LadyBulldog athlete found herself in the midst of a Twitter storm last week when athletic department personnel presented her with a contract to sign regarding her behavior and attitude. Mercy Yermo, a senior with state championships in long distance running in both cross country and track, was allegedly called into the athletic administration office where she was presented with the “contract.”
That document was photographed and posted on the Internet where it rapidly became a cause célèbre among her fellow students.
According to several sources not affiliated with Bandera High School, the problems may have arisen when Yermo had been reluctant to participate in the athletic department’s heavy weight lifting program. That program had been developed and actively promoted by former Athletic Director David Sine. Sine often said all athletes benefit from a heavy weight lifting regime along with other training protocols.
Those sources, who refused to allow the use of their names, claimed Yermo, who has been approached by a number of colleges interested in her running skills, may have been told by recruiters that bulking up is not beneficial to long distance running.
The Courier reached out to Yermo for an interview, but she did not respond, so we can only surmise her thinking.
According to one university long distance running coach we spoke to, “we do some weight lifting in the Spring and off season, but it’s for strength, not bulk, to add a little speed. It also helps to avoid injuries.”
This coach has his runners doing weights maybe two or three times a week. “We mix it with endurance running, because it helps the muscles to avoid using the same routine all the time.”
According to a BISD administrator, Yermo said she did not post the copy of the contract, but she did forward it to others once it had been posted. When told that rumors were flying that Yermo’s coach, Steve Goleman, may have overstepped, the administrator said, “No formal complaint has been filed at this time.”
In addition to her state athletic championships, Yermo is a member of the National Honor Society and a senior class officer.
The text of the contract is as follows:
"According to University Interscholastic League rules, being in athletics is a privilege and not a right. Only those students who abide by school and athletic policies will be allowed to represent Bandera ISD and Bandera High School. When young men and women sign up for athletics and become a member of a team, they make a commitment to the team and the team rules. They are obligated to follow all rules and regulations of the program. They are not forced to participate in athletics. It is voluntary; therefore, they must follow the rules of order.
"The purpose of this agreement is to provide the athletic program with stability and cohesiveness for the 2015-2016 season. I understand that my actions and attitude have a direct effect on the program and our progress to becoming a better TEAM! With my signature I agree to abide by the conditions of this agreement for the entire Track and Field Season. I also agree to accept the consequences in the occurrence [sic] that I do not adhere to the agreement.
"Student/athlete name_______ Sport ________
The following are the athlete’s violations of the Athletic Policies for Bandera High School and reasons for holding this Behavior Contract Conference:
• Being uncoachable in and out of athletic period
• Defiant attitude/ refusing to do the workouts and/or only going through the emotions [sic], rather than giving the best effort possible
• Questioning authority and workouts
• Lack of effort
• Missing practice
• Dishonesty
• Negativity towards and about workout/coaching staff/ track program
"The following infractions will result in immediate removal from the Athletic Program at Bandera High School:
• Disrespectful attitude towards any adult on campus
• Disrespectful attitude towards other student-athletes
• Missing one practice without prior notification
• Not making up practices fully and in the proper manner
• Any violation of school policy
• Any violation of the athletic policy and/or track and field rules
• Negative attitude
• Lack of effort
• Questioning authority and workouts
"Date and Signature lines for the Student, Parent, Coach, Asst. Athletic Director."
As with so many events in today’s social media environment, almost nothing stays private any more. This incident may just be a case of Senioritis, a case of young people jumping too quickly into the crowd to support a friend they felt was mistreated before gathering all the facts, or it may be a bit of overreaching authority.
If it causes Yermo to lose college scholarships, it will be a tragedy.