Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

June 26, 2014

OSSAA cracks down on public criticism of officials

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY — One call negated a Hilldale touchdown reception in the second half, saying the catch was out of bounds. A day after the game, Kirkhart said the video they had showed otherwise and a Facebook post by one of the players also supported that.

Also, a Hornets’ defender was whistled for holding the ball up in the air after what appeared to be a fumble recovery but was ruled otherwise. Also in his comments, Kirkhart was also upset that his players on defense were told to “quit your whining” when asking officials to “slide over” from where they were lined up so as to not be an obstacle between them and the play.

Sheakley said the Hilldale situation wasn’t one of the more serious ones the staff had discussion over.

“The staff just decided it was time to have a policy regarding this,” he said.

Hilldale athletic director Erik Puckett said he understands the need for a rule but in the case of the game in question last season, understood the frustration of his coach.

“There’s probably a more appropriate forum than the press but I understand the need. Officials deal with a lot and not only within the game but also fans,” Puckett said. “It’s a tough job and it’s not like they are doing that full-time.”

Kirkhart declined comment.

• On other OSSAA matters, Sheakley said anything regarding additional split of Class 6A athletics beyond football is still in discussion but would not happen for another year if at that. The matter is in committee. The 32 football schools are in two divisions according to enrollment starting this fall. Additionally, because those playoff brackets will consist of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, there will be an off week between the semifinals and finals to avoid Thanksgiving weekend and put the championship games on the same week as 5A and 4A. Those two classes will still have four weeks of playoffs while 3A, 2A and 1A have five.

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