Fleming stood tall under pressure

The name "Ursuline High School" has elicited many responses over the years.
"Champion," for one, signifying the state-wide successes in football, boys basketball and baseball.
"Respect," for another, because even in seasons in which the Fighting Irish may not have had the better team, it was still the mantra of opposing coaches that Ursuline would be ready to give an all-out effort.
Over the last 10 days, the Ursuline moniker has given way to a more unfortunate and undeserved connotation -- "cheaters."
Stepped forward: To her credit, Patricia Fleming, the principal at Ursuline, was very forthright and honest with the media and the players on the Fighting Irish football team.
She admitted to the error being a clerical one and took full responsibility for it. Standing before a room full of coaches and players, who were suddenly hit with the realization that they would be unable to defend their state championship on the field, couldn't have been the easiest thing Ms. Fleming has ever done.
Neither was contacting the area's media and informing them of the discoveries.
There has been a lot of finger-pointing being done the last few days.
Part of the initial (and unofficial) reaction from Ursuline was to determine who "blew the whistle."
Spilled the beans: That's a natural response, I suppose, and it's certainly possible that someone contacted the Ohio High School Athletic Association rather than Ms. Fleming or Ursuline athletic director Jim Maughan.
OHSAA commissioner Clair Muscaro and assistant commissioner John Dickerson, who oversees football eligibility, weren't talking, even though Fleming and Maughan both confirmed they had been in contact with the organization late last week and throughout this week.
I kind of understand their reluctance. This certainly isn't the kind of publicity the OHSAA wants, especially about a high-profile program like Ursuline's. And, it may very well be Muscaro's philosophy to allow the school involved to make the official announcement.
Thankfully, Ms. Fleming stepped forward.
As for those around the area who look at this episode as "just another case of Ursuline cheating," we say, show us the proof.
Rumors are rampant: Sure, there have always been rumors -- the ones surrounding this particular case ran rampant for days -- but in the good 'ol' U.S.A. we're still innocent until proved guilty, and until someone is willing or able to step forward with proof of wrong-doing then it remains nothing but a rumor.
And that's the way this newspaper will treat it.
Then there are those who believe the punishment is too severe. Their argument is, the student-athlete in question participated in very few plays and probably wouldn't have played at all if the games would have been more competitive.
The problem is, where does one draw the line? What if the student-athlete had been a starter? Should there be different penalties based on playing time? That most assuredly would lead to a state of confusion. Look how many hours of film study it took for Ms. Fleming to determine how many games in which the student-athlete participated.
No, the rules are very clear: You do the "crime" and you must do the time.
In this situation, Ursuline officials made a mistake. They owned up to it, took the heat for it and will learn from it.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write him at todor@vindy.com.