Wednesday, December 20, 2017

GHSA Amends Bylaws to Exclude Judgment Calls

In the offseason following the Georgia High School Association's decision to overturn an on-field umpire's judgment call, the GHSA amended its Bylaws to address similar future complaints, such as this month's appeal from Peach County HS concerning a football official's incomplete pass ruling in the fourth quarter of a State championship game.

Officially speaking, the GHSA took no action when Peach County head coach Chad Campbell presented his argument in front of the GHSA Board of Trustees on Monday, despite the same Board of Trustees' ruling in the Lee County case.
Related PostPrecedent Set, Georgia Faces 2nd Judgment Call Protest (12/11/17).

The GHSA has reversed its appeal stance.
Photo: Nancy Stahl, NYTimes
Instead, newly installed GHSA Executive Director Robert Hines demurred, "[We aren't] here to talk about the call...judgment calls made by contest officials are not reviewable or reversible." Meanwhile, GHSA attorney Alan Connell—the same lawyer who ruled in May that Lee County baseball could appeal a judgment call—confirmed that Monday's meeting was informational and would not overturn the in-game ruling.

Gil's Call: In making no call and having no comment on the play, the GHSA finally made the right decision and Campbell is arguing straight from the scapegoating playbook.

In regards to the issue of not reviewing judgment calls, consider this argument from the other side (not to mention the argument that the receiver may have illegally participated by stepping out of bounds prior to the pass): "So are the peach county (sic) folks just disregarding the fact that the refs missed a fumble call in the same series of downs that gave them the opportunity to even have this play?"

A side judge signals the pass play incomplete.
Prevailing logic would dictate that if the fourth down judgment call were to be deemed reviewable, this earlier alleged non-fumble would also be looked at...and who knows how many plays prior to that would have to be considered.

In regards to the scapegoat issue, Campbell, in an interview with ESPN's Bill Shanks, stated, "We've had some bad crews this postseason and, um, you know, it so happened the worst crew were (sic) the ones we saw on the most extravagant stage of them all and viewed and watched by millions of people across the United States and the world."

Campbell then proceeded to admonish the entire crew, identified the white hat—by name—and aired some grievances about the referee, saying that he had officiated a previous state championship where another team "got he got to be on another championship crew is beyond my belief."

The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS)'s Coaches Code of Ethics states, "The coach shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct...Public criticism of officials or players is unethical."

Oh well.
Related PostGil's Call: The Blame Game (Umpire Scapegoating) (8/8/14).

Coach Campbell, who was seeking to reverse the incomplete pass ruling, presented several opinionated arguments, stating that the side judge who made the call was out of position and "had the worst view of them all," that the crew failed to discuss the call after it was made, and concluded with the accusation, "Not one time—not for one second—did they try to get this call right."

Following his appeal, Campbell presented the Board with the non sequitur argument that he was not protesting a judgment call, but a rules interpretation. That statement wasn't a fluke; Campbell doubled down and reiterated that he was not protesting a judgment call in his interview with Shanks.

However, the report failed to specify which rule Campbell believed had been misinterpreted and Campbell again failed to state which rule had been interpreted incorrectly in his interview with Shanks, though he did have two requests.

1) Resume the game from the point of appeal with the touchdown awarded to Peach County; or,
2) Name Peach County as co-champions alongside the real victors, Calhoun High School.

The Board declined to do either, in stark contrast to how they handled the Lee County appeal in May.
Related PostDangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call (5/22/17).

New Bylaws reversed White's May precedent.
To understand why, we see that in October, the GHSA quietly voted in an amendment to the association's Bylaws, adding Bylaw 2.92(g), which states, "Judgement (sic) calls by contest officials are not reviewable or reversible."

Grammarians might even observe the amendment was rushed by considering the spelling of, "judgement."

Nonetheless, new GHSA Bylaw 2.92(g) ensures that what happened back in May when the same GHSA Board overturned an umpire's judgment call will not happen again: GHSA President Glenn White's Lee County baseball precedent has been superseded by Bylaw amendment... though Monday's Board meeting ended with White announcing that the Board will meet again in January.

Peach County recently announced its plan to complain and/or boycott the Georgia Farm Bureau in protest. The Georgia Farm Bureau is one of several GHSA corporate sponsors. The plan is to make GHSA, and its sponsors, pay.

In his interview with Shanks, Campbell summarized the event, calling it, "a complete joke" and announcing his resignation from GHSA Executive Committees for football and baseball in protest. Shanks and Campbell then accused the GHSA's attorney of "dumb[ing] them [The Board] up."

Campbell concluded, "It's not over. I'm not going to rest." Although the battle may get that much more difficult, with Campbell having resigned from having a say on the GHSA committees.


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