Controversy Surrounding Finish Of 3A Playoff Game
OKLAHOMA CITY - Locust Grove advanced to the Class 3A semifinals on Friday night with a 20-19 win over Douglass. However, the win didn't come without controversy.
Late in the fourth quarter, Douglass had a game-winning touchdown wiped away by a sideline infraction penalty. Douglass had to replay fourth down and didn't convert and Locust Grove got the ball to run out the clock.
Today, the OSSAA acknowledged the penalty was incorrectly enforced. Here's the statement from the OSSAA:
Today the OSSAA Director of Officials Mike Whaley has apologized for the results of the officials' error at the 3A quarterfinal playoff game between Douglass and Locust Grove when the officials incorrectly enforced a penalty near the end of the contest that erased a Douglass touchdown.
National Federation Football Rules state the penalty for a second offense of Rule 9-8-3 shall be a dead ball foul and five-yard penalty. Dead ball fouls are enforced from the succeeding spot, which in this case should have been the extra point or succeeding kickoff. The officials erred by penalizing from the preceding spot and negating the results of the play.
“This error by the officials is inexcusable at this level and the results are extremely unfortunate for the
players, coaches, and fans involved. This mistake is compounded by the fact that it occurred in a playoff
elimination game,” Whaley stated. A reprimand of the crew will be filed and the crew has been removed from further OSSAA playoff consideration.
OSSAA Executive Director Ed Sheakley reiterated, “Our staff has been in contact with the Oklahoma City
Public School administration today and have acknowledged to them this error on the part of the officiating crew. This incorrect penalty enforcement by the officiating crew is extremely unfortunate for the Douglass players, coaches and fans. However; OSSAA Board Policy does not permit protesting an officials' error to the Board nor do NFHS Football Rules.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools released their own statement Saturday night, asking the OSSAA to re-play the final minute of the game. Here's the OKCPS statement:
"We appreciate the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletic Association's (OSSAA) apology and the disciplinary action taken against the officiating crew; but that alone will not suffice. The incorrect penalty call during Friday's 3A quarterfinal playoff game left the hardworking student athletes from Douglass Mid-High School disappointed and confused; these talented young men should not be forced to live with the mistakes made by adults. Coach Willis Alexander has asked the OSSAA to make this right and allow both teams to return to the field, enforce the penalty correctly, and finish the game as it should have finished Friday night. The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration fully supports the request Coach Alexander made on behalf of his team and believe the OSSAA has a great opportunity to right a wrong on the behalf of the students it was established to serve. We understand that this will be a first for OSSAA but every courageous decision ever made required someone to go first and not accept the traditional, 'this is the way it has always been done' attitude. We are at the point when apologies are not enough and we must correct this for the sake of the students who participate in sports across our District."
Rob Neu, OKCPS Superintendent
Keith Sinor, OKCPS District Athletic Director