Interesting story from Illinois where a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled against Fenwick High School, who brought a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) related to a referee mistake. Via the Chicago Tribune Judge rejects Fenwick’s bid to overturn disputed playoff football loss
A mistaken call by officials with no time left allowed Plainfield North to tie the game with a field goal in regulation and then win 18-17 in overtime on a two-point conversion.
The IHSA released this response to the decision today.
“Today’s decision by the Honorable Kathleen G. Kennedy in the Circuit Court of Chicago to uphold the result of the IHSA Class 7A Semifinal Football game is not a victory. There is no celebration and there are no winners in this circumstance. It is simply a resolution.
The Fenwick High School community has been dealt a pair of devastating blows over the past few days, while Plainfield North had a historic moment shrouded in controversy simply for following the rules provided for them, first by the game officials, and then by the IHSA.
We will move forward now, in the short-term with eight state championship football games at the University of Illinois this weekend. In the long-run, it is our job as an Association, Board of Directors and membership to look at our policies and rules to see if and how we might be able to prevent instances like this in the future.
We appreciate Judge Kennedy’s ruling from the perspective that we believe it is vital for membership organizations like the IHSA to be able to self-govern within the rules set by our member schools. Judge Kennedy recognized the historic precedent that would have resulted if she had overturned the outcome of the game based on an officiating error. This is the same pitfall our membership foresaw in originally approving the by-law, and that our Board of Directors recognized in their decision not to consider an appeal.”
Prior to the ruling, a writer for the Tribune explored Fenwick football fiasco raises issues of sportsmanship, ethics.
I for one feel that as IHSA notes, bylaw 6.033 states “the decisions of game officials are final.” In an era when attracting and retaining officials across youth sports is at near critical levels, the idea of going to court over an incorrect decision astounds me. Instead, the organization and individuals across the sport should be pouring resources into improving this critical element of the game. You can’t play without the kids, a ball and a referee.