Update: 12/4/2014 – A judge granted Douglass High School a temporary restraining order that effectively delays the playoff game between Locust Grove and Heritage Hall.
Next Thursday a judge will hear arguments about the whether Douglass High School will be allowed to replay last weeks game.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
OKLAHOMA CITY – By a vote of 8-3, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) denied an appeal by Douglass High School and Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) to replay a playoff football game because of an officiating error.
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.
The error gave Locust Grove a one-point victory over Douglass, 20-19, and a spot in the state semifinals.
Now, OKCPS officials say they plan to file an injunction in Oklahoma County District Court, possibly Thursday morning.
Time is of the essence for Douglass HS, because Locust Grove’s state semifinal against Heritage Hall is scheduled for Friday night.
OSSAA considered a motion to replay the entire game, 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.
Earlier Wednesday, state Senator Anastasia Pittman (D-OKC) held a press conference at the capitol and implied racial bias may have played a role in the officiating error.
“How do you teach kids on faith and tell them to do the right thing when you have adults who govern this very thing we call extra curricular activity, but they won’t do the right thing?” she said after the decision.
OKCPS attorney Brandon Carey said the board’s fear of opening a “Pandora’s box” for future officiating errors may have been their main reason for voting against the appeal.
“It could have been part of the reason,” he said. “It could have been a motivating factor for some of the members, however it’s hard for us to understand how it would be as we think this is a very unique situation.”
OSSAA Board members refused comment to NewsChannel 4 after the meeting, but Locust Grove officials were pleased.
“That unfairness and the misapplication of the rule I think is a necessary evil in sports,” Locust Grove school district attorney Matt Cyran said. “As long as humans are involved in sports, there will be mistakes. So ultimately, it is fair.
Douglass coach Willis Alexander apologized to the board for criticizing OSSAA in the media after the game, and even offered to sit out the remainder of the playoffs if his team could replay the game or the final 64 seconds against Locust Grove.
The emotional plea did not convince the board.