We’ve seen high school football games canceled for any number of crazy reasons: fighting on the field, fighting in the stands, bad weather . . . but because the officials failed to show up? That’s a new one here at BadJocks, but it happened last weekend for the homecoming game between Park and Case High Schools in Racine, Wisconsin. Near as we can tell, someone hired the officiating crew back in 2008, but they have since disbanded (kind of like the Beatles) and claim they told the school of that fact. The school claims to have never received the notification, so that’s why the game was delayed for more than half an hour as the public address system made repeated pleas for anyone in the stands with officiating experience to help out.
Fortunately, the game was rescheduled for Monday night and the crew they hired for that game did actually show up.
Here are the details from The Journal Times:
It boiled down to a simple lack of communication that was beyond the control of first-year Park athletic director Jeff Miller or the Racine Unified School District.
That was the finding following an investigation by Unified officials into why there were no officials on a hand for a Southeast Conference high school football game between Park and Case Friday night at Hammes Field. After a 35-minute delay, it was decided that the game, which is Park’s homecoming, would be postponed and rescheduled for 6 p.m. Monday.
High school athletic directors are responsible for arranging for officials only for nonconference games. Officials for conference games are arranged by the conference commissioner, which in this case, is SEC commissioner Larry Fell of Burlington.
It is common procedure for officiating crews to be assigned to games about two years in advance of the assignment. The five-man officiating crew for the Park-Case game was assigned in December 2008, but had dissolved since that assignment.
According to Brian Colbert, area superintendent for Unified, the crew chief said he wrote a letter to Fell this summer informing him that the crew was no longer active. “They said he sent a notification to me, but I have no recollection of receiving a letter,” Fell said Monday. Fell also said the crew in question had been scheduled for only one SEC game this season – the Oct. 1 Park-Case game at Hammes Field. “The process we’re using (for assigning officiating crews), we’ve been using for years and it’s worked very well,” Fell said. “This is just one of those unfortunate things that just happened.”