A judge has made his decision in a case involving a controversial football game between Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, and Locust Grove High School in eastern Oklahoma.
A botched call by a referee during a quarterfinal game allowed Locust Grove to advance in the playoffs, but Oklahoma City Public Schools took this case to the OSSAA. That group decided not to allow a replay of the last minute, and now District Judge Bernard M. Jones has decided that decision will stand.
After three hours in the courtroom Wednesday and what's now turned into over 20 hours of deliberation, Judge Jones has decided that the ruling on the field stands, which means the game will not be replayed.
Locust Grove will advance to the state semi-finals to play against Heritage Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday.
After the OSSAA ruled that the game will not be replayed, Oklahoma City Public Schools District filed an injunction to keep Locust Grove from advancing. Thursday morning, Judge Jones denied the district's request for temporary injunction, and the temporary restraining order was dissolved.
In the court document filed on Thursday morning, the judge stated, "What transpired during and to some degree after the disputed quarterfinal could be considered by many as a tragedy. More tragic, however, would be for this Court to assert itself in this matter."
"While mindful of the frustrations of the young athletes who feel deprived by the inaction of Defendant (OSSAA,) it borders on the unreasonable, and in some respects extends far beyond the purview of the judiciary, to think this Court more equipped or better qualified than Defendant to decide the outcome or any portion of a high school football game," Judge Jones stated in the court document.
Keith Sinor, OKCPS District Athletic Director, released the following statement concerning Judge Jones' decision on Thursday,
"From the beginning, the Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS) has been clear that we have a responsibility to support student athletes and do what is right. The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association (OSSAA) game official admittedly applied the wrong penalty and OKCPS followed the proper legal process to request the wrong be made right. Unfortunately, the outcome of the hearing did not produce the results we hoped for. The judge's decision presents an opportunity for the OSSAA to review and address the processes and procedures that affect every student athlete in Oklahoma. We hope to work with the OSSAA and identify solutions for the future to make sure the incident that occurred during the Douglass versus Locust Grove playoff game doesn't happen to other student athletes in Oklahoma."