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.
The forfeiture ruling involving Guthrie was made because of a dual residency issue said to be in violation of OSSAA Rule 8-2b(5). The rule addresses the criteria for a change in residency and ends with: “A student whose family maintains multiple residences in circumvention of the requirements of this Rule shall not be eligible at any new school.”
As of now, Guthrie is out of the playoffs, but other teams are preparing for all possibilities.
Carl Albert coach Gary Rose, who is close friends with Watkins and received a call from the coach Thursday afternoon informing him of the situation, said his team would prepare for both Ardmore and Durant.
“We've got to prepare for both of them,” Rose said. “Everybody on our side is in the same boat.”
Rose said he felt for Watkins and Guthrie athletic director Gary Boxley.
“My first reaction is that Rafe Watkins and Box (Boxley) are great friends of mine,” Rose said. “I trust them explicitly. I know they've done nothing deliberate.”
With its loss at Ada on Friday, Deer Creek would've had to travel to undefeated Lawton MacArthur in the first round. Now they'll play at 7-3 Duncan.
“I told our guys, ‘We can't control any of the things that are going on except how we play against Ada,'” Deer Creek coach Grant Gower said before Friday's game. “That's the only thing under our control.
“And whoever the bracket says we play, we'll get ready to play that opponent.”
But the situation is complicated, because Gower said that the Antlers will spend the first half of next week preparing for two different opponents.
“What it comes down to is, we'll be looking at two teams,” Gower said. “We will actually look at whatever we need to for a couple of teams. That's a really difficult situation for our coaches and for our players.”
El Reno goes from being out of the playoff picture to likely being in the playoffs — barring a successful appeal or injunction.
“We go in, play like we've played all year and see what happens,” El Reno coach Shawn Mason said.
Mason said his he doesn't think this situation puts his team under any extra strain.
“No strain at all,” Mason said. “We go to practice and prepare for the playoffs, and we'll let the OSSAA rule on that.”