Wednesday, January 24, 2018

GHSA Affirms Basketball Protest, Orders Replay

Having already entertained protests in two sports (baseball - affirmed; football - denied), the Georgia High School Association brought its Board full circle, hearing a protest in its third-straight season as the GHSA overturned a basketball game result based on a misapplication of the rules.

Related PostDangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call (5/22/17 - Baseball Decision).
Related PostGHSA Amends Bylaws to Exclude Judgment Calls (12/20/17 - Football Decision).

GHSA has heard 3 protests in last 3 seasons.
Unlike the baseball and football plays, however, the most recent basketball case features a protest based on a rule interpretation issue, as opposed to a judgment call.

With nary one second remaining in the fourth quarter and Discovery High School leading Collins Hill 45-44, Collins Hill prepared to throw the ball in along the far end-line. After a throw-in violation, Discovery received a throw-in at the spot, upon which an inbounds Discovery player punched the throw-in pass toward the goal, and away from opposing Collins Hill players, prompting a whistle (it is illegal to punch or strike the ball with a fist).

After a conference, officials ruled a technical foul against Discovery, awarded Collins Hill two free throws (which they made), and the game concluded thereafter with Collins Hill winning, 46-45.

NFHS Rule 9-4 prohibits a player from striking the ball with a fist, and its penalty states, "The ball is dead when the violation occurs and is awarded to the opponents for a throw-in from the designated out-of-bounds spot nearest the violation."

In affirming Discovery's appeal, the GHSA determined Rule 9-4 had been misapplied and ordered the game replayed from the point of protest (with Discovery leading 45-44):
Since this was NOT a ‘judgment call’ but a clear misapplication of a rule, play shall be resumed at the point of interruption when the violation occurred. It will be the responsibility of the two schools to determine when/where the resumption of play will take place and communicate that information with the local officials association and myself. Additionally, there shall be no added expense for officials assigned to finish the game in question.
NFHS Basketball does not recognize protests.
GHSA's decision to replay the Discovery-Collins Hill game angered Peach County, the football team whose December protest was turned down. Though GHSA officials made clear that January's basketball protest concerned a misapplication of rules and December's football controversy dealt with a judgment call, Peach County superintendent Dr. Daryl Fineran wasn't buying it: "This [Discovery] is a Gwinnett County school, and Gwinnett County wags the tail. It's the money, the socioeconomics...I told them that's ridiculous."

Added GHSA executive director Robin Hines, "We had the opportunity to make that right and correct that misapplication of the rules. That’s well within the NFHS (national federation) rules."

Except it isn't. NFHS Basketball Rule 5-4-2 states, "The NFHS Basketball Rules Committee does not recognize protests."


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