FARGO — On Tuesday afternoon, students and parents rallied in front of Fargo South High School claiming girls track and field coach Tim McLagan had dismissed minority athletes from the team. Students demanded for his resignation.
Fargo South athletic director Mike Beaton said Wednesday the athletes were never dismissed from the team. Beaton added that all athletes were welcomed back to the team after discussions.
"The kids have been invited back to the team, not just because (of the protest Tuesday), but because of other things," Beaton said. "This was a situation where team rules were not followed by the athletes and the coach. The coach has apologized for not being consistent with applying the team rules."
Beaton said students were originally scheduled to help middle school athletes. That event was canceled and, on the day of the event, students were sent a message saying that regular practice would happen instead.
Beaton was adamant that this situation was not about race, despite the fact students claimed 10 athletes, mostly minorities, were kicked off the team for missing one practice. The team syllabus states a fifth unplanned absence removes an athlete from the team, while a first unplanned absence results in a review of the attendance policy with the coach. The students also claimed they were forced to write an apology letter and read it aloud to their teammates. They claimed none of the white athletes had to write one.
Beaton said this wasn't an isolated incident for some of these students. Regardless, he wanted to move on.
"This was based solely on team rules not being followed on both sides," Beaton said. "We're moving forward. The coaches recognized and admitted to and apologized for not applying team rules. We want to move forward. We want the kids to compete."