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Class A state baseball: Taking a closer look at the OSSAA's games limit rule

The OSSAA's games limit rule — which allows teams 22 games and three tournaments — came into the spotlight this week when Wright City was found in violation of the rule and the OSSAA ruled the Lumberjax would have to forfeit their Class A state tournament opening-round game to Sterling.
by Ryan Aber Published: May 4, 2013

A similar timeline for the Wright City case could push the resumption of the Class A state baseball tournament into the middle of May.

“It's going to get played,” Sterling coach John Morgan, whose team was scheduled to open the tournament against Wright City, said. “The state tournament's going to get played, I assume. I just think we'd all like to know eventually, and that's just me.”

More than a year ago, the OSSAA's board of directors voted to allow Guthrie to continue in the football playoffs after using an ineligible player for eight games.

Instead of forfeiting the games, Guthrie suspended its coach for eight games — stretching into the 2012 season — and went on to win a state title.

That ruling led to questions about whether the precedent had been set to alter the OSSAA rules to allow teams to continue.

Wright City, though, focused more on a recent baseball decision to make its case in front of a McCurtain County judge last week.

Last season, Guthrie and Sand Springs reached their games limit before the end of their district schedule — the first year for district play in Class 6A and 5A.

Those teams were allowed to compete in the postseason, without their head coach, while forfeiting the district games that would've put them over the limit.

In those cases, though, the teams had not actually exceeded the games-played limit. Wright City exceeded the limit by two.

“My heart goes out to those kids and to the coach,” Guthrie baseball coach Jon Chappell said. “I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I know how much coaches put in time and effort and the hours they put in with these kids. I know there's got to be rules and I understand that.”

In similar situations last fall, four softball teams — Catoosa, Edmond North, Inola and Stillwater — were forced to forfeit playoff games after exceeding the games limit in that sport.

“Every scenario in every situation has its own twist or its own turn,” Chappell said. “And I know that the (OSSAA) has a tough, tough job. I know they do.

“Believe me, I have read those rules. To say that I can't mess up again, I could mess up tomorrow. It's a tough, tough situation is all I can say.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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