[caption id="attachment_6125" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2014\/10\/AnitaWorkmansm.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-6125" src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2014\/10\/AnitaWorkmansm-300x199.jpg" alt="Anita Workman and her son Keaton Baldwin. Baldwin was expelled from the South Eastern Youth Football League three weeks ago. The mother claims the expulsion was unjustified and is seeking an apology from league officials. " width="300" height="199" \/><\/a> Anita Workman and her son Keaton Baldwin. Baldwin was expelled from the South Eastern Youth Football League three weeks ago. The mother claims the expulsion was unjustified and is seeking an apology from league officials.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nIn a process that a coach described as \u201cun-American,\u201d the South Eastern Youth Football League (SEYFL) summarily expelled an 11-year old Pocahontas County player for a new infraction called \u201ctargeting.\u201d The youngster's mother and others are questioning the propriety of the expulsion.\r\n\r\nKeaton Baldwin, the son of Anita Workman, of Hillsboro, played for the SEYFL varsity Pocahontas Warriors until a game in Union on October 20. During that game, Baldwin was penalized three times for targeting and was ejected from the game.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe was warned three times during this game in Union,\u201d said Baldwin. \u201cThe head coach couldn't figure out why they were calling targeting on him. Nobody on our sidelines could figure it out. We couldn't figure out why they were calling it because it was not targeting.\u201d\r\n\r\nBaldwin weighs 107 pounds. The maximum weight for players in the SEYFL varsity division is 155 pounds. One penalty against Baldwin came on a tackle of a 150-plus pound running back with the ball. A second was called on Baldwin's tackle of a kickoff returner, who was slightly injured on the play. A third was called when Baldwin knocked a player out of the way as Baldwin attempted to recover a fumble.\r\n\r\nTwo referees officiate every SEYFL game. The same referee made all three targeting calls against Baldwin. Workman questions the validity of the calls and said there was disagreement between the two referees, as well.\r\n\r\n\u201cEvery time Keaton would hit a kid, there would be a flag on targeting,\u201d she said. \u201cEvery single time that Keaton hit a kid. There were three flags and one of them was called back because one of the refs - there were two refs - one of the refs actually ran up to the other ref and said, 'You cannot call that on that kid. You can't call that. That's a legal hit.'\u201d\r\n\r\nWorkman's father and Baldwin's grandfather, Emery Grimes, was the Warriors head coach. As a result of Baldwin's expulsion, Grimes ended the game at Union.\r\n\r\n\u201cThat day, everybody was very upset,\u201d said Workman. \u201cEmery, my father, ended up calling the game. The kids, their morale was down. They were upset. Keaton is a team player. He was one of the leaders of the team. The sidelines were very upset. So, he ended up calling the game.\u201d\r\n\r\nThree days after the Union game, the SEYFL governing board, which meets in Lewisburg, held a special meeting and expelled Baldwin from the league.\r\n\r\nSEYFL Commissioner David Shay sent the following email to Workman:\r\n\r\n\u201cThis letter is to inform you that the SEYFL board and AD's [athletic directors] voted unanimously to suspend Keaton Baldwin the reminding [sic] of the 2014 season. This decision was based on liability and the safety of all players involved. Keaton was warned on different occasions of leading with his head and now what is a rule in the SSAC 'targeting.' This decision is not up for appeal.\u201d\r\n\r\nHowever, the new penalty of targeting does not involve \u201cleading with the head,\u201d as stated in Shay's email. Targeting involves hitting an opponent above the shoulders.\r\n\r\nThe SEYFL incorporates rules from the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commisson (SSAC), which incorporates football rules from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).\r\n\r\nTargeting is a new penalty, included in the NFHS rules for the first time this year. According to a handout explaining the new rule, targeting is \u201can act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders. Targeting may be called for contact against any opponent, including the runner.\u201d\r\n\r\nSection Eight of the SEYFL bylaws reads: \u201cThe Board of Directors will have a special meeting and will determine a 'punishment' for any rules that are broken. This will be left strictly up to the Board of Directors, consisting of the Commissioner, 2\/3 of the Deputy Commissioners, Secretary, and Treasurer. Formal complaints in regards to By-Laws violations must be submitted to League Commissioner in writing and positive (video) evidence submitted at that time if possible. Any positive video or evidence must be provided to the accused no less than 48 hours prior to the called meeting.\u201d\r\n\r\nDuring the SEYFL special meeting on October 24, no one was invited to speak in Baldwin's defense. Despite the specific mention of video evidence in the SEYFL bylaws, the board did not review game video when making its decision to expel the sixth-grader from the league.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere were no films, there were no tapes, there were no refs at the meeting,\u201d said Workman.\r\n\r\nSection 8a of the SEYFL bylaws reads: \u201cAny person can make an appeal of a suspension by the SEYFL board to an area director appeals board.\u201d\r\n\r\nHowever, Shay's email to Workman states, \u201cThis decision is not up for appeal.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestions about the referee's interpretation of the new rule and questions about the process used by the SEYFL board to expel Baldwin have created a cloud over youth football in Pocahontas County.\r\n\r\nGrimes disputes the referee's calls.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey said he was targeting - from my sideline, I did not see that,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nGrimes said the punishment would be unwarranted even if the penalty calls were correct.\r\n\r\n\u201cI've been around midget football for probably 25 years and I've never heard of them doing this,\u201d he said. \u201cThey say they follow SSAC rules, but SSAC rules say if you get thrown out of a ballgame, you're out of the next ballgame too. Then, you go back to playing football. You still practice with the team, you just can't play in the next game. You don't kick a kid out for the year. That was unfair.\u201d\r\n\r\nAngry and frustrated, Grimes quit as the Pocahontas coach following Baldwin's expulsion.\r\n\r\n\u201cI just could not be part of an organization that did that,\u201d he said. \u201cI think it's un-American.\u201d\r\n\r\nIndeed, the American concept of due process requires an opportunity to defend oneself, an impartial hearing with all relevant evidence considered, and the possibility of an appeal. All three of those elements appear to be lacking in the SEYFL's expulsion of Keaton Baldwin. Broad understanding of the new targeting rule also appears to be lacking.\r\n\r\nPocahontas Youth Football League Vice President Brad Dunz gave his opinion.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don't think Keaton was playing dirty, he was just playing hard,\u201d he said. \u201cThe boy is an aggressive, good football player. I hated to see what happened to him happen. He's a good football player.\u201d\r\n\r\nKeaton was disappointed to be accused of illegal play, but looks forward to playing seventh and eighth grade football next year.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think I hit good,\u201d he said. \u201cThey said that I'm targeting and I'm not. I'm just hitting the kid who has the ball and he's running down the field. I hit him and they say I hit too hard.\u201d\r\n\r\nWorkman has consulted with an attorney and is considering legal action against the SEYFL. More information will be reported as it becomes available.