We don’t usually get exercised over bad calls by umps, refs and other sports officiators. Mistakes happen. Sometimes in key games.
But Friday night, Fenwick’s stellar football team — and the generations of Friar football fans long dead — got robbed, hosed, jobbed, knee-capped in what should have been the very final seconds of a game that would have sent Fenwick to the state finals for the first time ever.
Instead a fully incorrect call — not a subjective interpretation of a play but a straight-out blown rules call — gave the competition a bonus play, which it used to kick a field goal and drive the game into an overtime loss for the Friars.
And it is not just Fenwick coaches, team parents and our irate editor (admittedly a Fenwick alumnus) who see this as a monumental and enormously painful gaffe by officials. Late Friday night, the executive director of the IHSA issued a statement acknowledging the outright error, admitted the game should have ended in regulation with a Fenwick victory and offered an apology to the team.
What he could not do, under IHSA rules, is to overrule the call on the field. And that is just wrong. And now it’s the subject of a lawsuit in circuit court, putting a judge in an unenviable, no-win situation.
Where the spotlight ought to be is on the IHSA, which is hiding behind its ridiculous bylaws, which absolve them of any responsibility to right a wrong. Get it together, IHSA.