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Judge grants Douglass High School temporary restraining order after botched penalty

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) district took the controversial Douglass-Locust Grove playoff football game from the gridiron to the courtroom Thursday.

It paid off, at least for a week, until the next hearing.

Oklahoma County District Judge Bernard Jones granted Douglass High School a temporary restraining order that effectively delays the playoff game between Locust Grove and Heritage Hall.

"We jumped one hurdle," OKCPS attorney Brandon Carey said.  "We've got a bigger one coming up."

Carey said OKCPS convinced the judge that irreparable harm would result if Douglass didn't get a rematch.

OSSAA attorney Mark Grossman argued it wasn't the association's duty to reschedule a game based on an officiating error.

He said a cascade of consequences, both athletic and academic, would happen if Friday's scheduled semifinal game between Locust Grove and Heritage Hall was delayed even one week.

Next Thursday a judge will hear arguments about  whether Douglass High School will be allowed to replay last weeks game.

In last week’s 3A quarterfinal against Locust Grove, a Douglass touchdown was negated by officials after they called a sideline penalty on a coach with 64 seconds left to play.

The penalty should have been enforced on the play after the touchdown.

OSSAA officials have admitted the referees made a mistake and the touchdown should have counted.

OSSAA apologized after the game, stating that the crew has been reprimanded and removed from further OSSAA playoff games.

The error gave Locust Grove a one-point victory over Douglass, 20-19, and a spot in the state semifinals.

OSSAA considered a motion to replay the entire game on Wednesday, but in the end, they voted against replaying the game or replaying the final 64 seconds of the game – the time remaining when the Douglass touchdown was scored.

OKCPS officials filed an injunction in the Oklahoma County District Court Thursday morning.

Thursday afternoon, a judge granted a restraining order and a full hearing on the botched penalty.

An injunction could be granted, opening the door for a Douglass-Locust Grove rematch.

After the announcement, Keith Sinor, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Athletic Director, released the following statement:

"Judge Bernard Jones has approved our application for a temporary restraining order and a hearing will be held Thursday afternoon, Dec. 11.  We understand that today's decision will affect two other high school teams in the short-term who are preparing to compete in the playoffs, and that is unfortunate.  Oklahoma City Public Schools is not the first school district to file an injunction in post season play; in these instances there are always innocent victims. Our focus from the beginning has been on doing the right thing for student athletes and today's decision is about more than the two teams directly involved. Everyone can relate to the heartache that occurs when you try your best and it's rewarded with unfairness. Today's decision gives us another chance to make it right for students athletes and hopefully spark a broader conversation that will help to prevent similar situations from affecting student athletes in Oklahoma in the future.”  

 

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