Oklahoma State Senator Anastasia Pittman held a news conference to protest what she termed the misuse of a sideline infraction rule in the Douglass-Locust Grove 3A playoff game that caused the OKC team's touchdown to be overturned.
The score was not counted after an official ruled a coach stepped on the field improperly. The OSSAA later said the penalty was incorrectly enforced. Douglass would have had the lead with 1:04 left in the game if the penalty had been enforced correctly.
"We believe the touchdown should stand," said Pittman. "The Douglass student athletes should not be the ones to pay the price for a mistake the OSSAA has admitted officials made."
Pittman and other community leaders, including NAACP President Garland Pruitt, want the OSSAA to allow the students to returns to the field and play the game from where it was stopped.
The Douglass Trojans scored a touchdown to take a 25-20 lead with a minute to play in Friday's playoff game, but the touchdown was disallowed because of the sideline penalty. The touchdown was taken away, and Locust Grove went on to win the game 20-19 and advance to the state semifinals.
Oklahoma leaders like Sen. David Holt and former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer have called for the OSSAA to allow the final minute of the game to be replayed, but the OSSAA has so far denied that request.
NAACP Oklahoma City Branch President Pruitt noted that everyone makes mistakes, but said there are policies in place to correct misrules or mistakes. He wants the OSSAA to set a precedent to correct the mistake and give "fair and equal treatment" to the student athletes.
The community leaders said they believe racial bias may have played a role in the officiating though they stopped short of calling it a racist issue. Pittman and other Oklahoma City leaders called for "justice" and "change" in the OSSAA.
“It's not a black or white thing, it's about doing the right thing,” Pittman said.
An OSSAA official at the news conference said he believes the organization needs to review its policy for assigning referees to playoff games. He said there have been numerous problems in officiating playoff games. Last year, an official in his first year was serving at a state playoff game.
The OSSAA Board of Directors is set to hear an appeal of the decision at 4 p.m. Wednesday. We will keep you updated on this story throughout the day.