A high school homecoming game on Monday night? Park High School in Racine, Wis., was forced to move its homecoming contest against city rival Case to Monday after officials failed to show up for Friday's originally scheduled game. At least Park prevailed, 30-13.
After a 35-minute delay Friday night, during which a request was made over the public-address system for any qualified officials who might be in the stands, the game was postponed. Fans attending Friday were offered refunds and free admission Monday, according to the Racine Journal Times.
The paper also reports that the officials' no-show was the result of a lack of communication beyond the control of first-year Park athletic director Jeff Miller or even the Racine Unified School District. An investigation by district administrators determined that the five-man officiating crew for the Park-Case game was assigned in December 2008 - a common procedure, the district says - but had dissolved since that assignment. According to Brian Colbert, area superintendent for the district, the crew chief said he wrote a letter to Southeast Conference commissioner Larry Fell this summer informing him that the crew was no longer active.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 told reporters Monday, adding that the crew in question had been scheduled for only one SEC game this season - the Oct. 1 Park-Case game. "The process we're using, we've been using for years and it's worked very well. This is just one of those unfortunate things that just happened."
The incident will prove costly, since fans were offered refunds for tickets to Friday's game, and Park's team had to be bused twice to Hammes Field, which is located at Case High. "I want to reiterate the fact that Racine athletic directors do not schedule conference games," Colbert said. "They had nothing to do with this process. I really want this to be stated because, especially in Park's case, (Miller) has been catching a lot of heat for something he had no control over because that's not even his responsibility."
To prevent a similar situation from happening again, safeguards have already been discussed. Fell noted that reminders are sent out from schools to the officials, but that there's no confirmation response required from the officials. Now there might be.