Guthrie forfeits leave 5A bracket a mess — and it might get worse

Guthrie could file injunction if OSSAA board votes against appeal
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer, raber@opubco.com Published: November 4, 2011

Saturday morning, Guthrie football coach Rafe Watkins plans to gather his team for their normal day-after-game activities.

His coaching staff will spend time breaking down film on Durant and preparing as if there will be a game to play Friday night.

Past that, he's unsure what's going to happen this week.

“All we can do is control what we can,” Watkins said. “We've already traded film. We're gonna practice on Monday and Tuesday.”

Guthrie's season was thrown in tumult by Thursday's ruling by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association that the Bluejays must forfeit eight of their wins this season. The OSSAA said senior Clint Simek is ineligible due to dual residency.

The ruling knocks the Bluejays out of the playoffs and throws the Class 5A bracket into chaos.

Guthrie is planning an appeal of the decision to the OSSAA's board of directors Wednesday.

Guthrie superintendent Terry Simpson is a member of the OSSAA's board of directors.

“I have been pleased with the fact that they always want to look at and find the facts,” he said. “They always want to fairly enforce the rules. I have confidence in the fact that they want to do that, even if I don't necessarily agree with them.”

If that appeal is denied, though, that might not be the end of the situation.

Guthrie could file for an injunction to stop the Class 5A playoffs before they begin.

Watkins indicated that could be a possibility.

“We'll go down and have our appeals on Wednesday, and we'll see how it goes,” he said. “And if we have to go further, we're gonna go further.”

In 2005, Shawnee was granted an injunction that halted the Class 5A playoffs for three weeks after quarterback Tucker Brown was suspended for two games for fighting after kicking a Tulsa Washington player in a quarterfinal win.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court overruled the injunction three weeks later.

In 2009, ruling in favor of the OSSAA in a lawsuit involving a Sallisaw basketball player, the same court cited several cases, including the Brown decision, in ruling that participation in interscholastic activities is a privilege and not a right, and said associations such as the OSSAA are “free to adopt rules that govern their interaction and that they are free to enforce those rules without undue interference by the courts.”

Six judges concurred with that opinion while three dissented.

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