Rules are rules. That’s the lesson that the Burke High girls basketball team walked away with after their 62-47 loss to Columbus this past Monday.
In an effort to commemorate their Make-A-Wish fundraiser participation, the Burke High girls basketball team dressed in brand new, light pink uniforms for their game against Columbus. All seemed to be going according to plan in the first half, with the hosts (Burke) even holding a one-point lead heading into halftime. Before the start of the second half, though, Columbus coach Dave Licari pulled the officiating crew aside and pointed out that Burke’s uniforms were not in accordance with state rules which mandate that home uniforms be white.
The referees, realizing that Licari was correct, went ahead and called a technical on the home team. Columbus got two free throws for their troubles.
Burke eventually went on to lose the game.
And then things got interesting. According to Mike Patterson of the Omaha World-Herald, while Burke understood why the officials had to make the decision that they made, they didn’t appreciate the timing of the ruling. Per the piece:
"If they thought there was a problem, it should have been addressed before the game,'' said the coach. "To have that happen at halftime caught us all off-guard.''
The situation, predictably, has caused somewhat of a stir. People seem to think that the officials should have let the whole mess go given the good that Burke was trying to accomplish with their deed. As noted by the folks at Yahoo! Sports:
… how an opposing coach's decision to push for that technical foul fits into the larger sense of sportsmanship and community responsibility that is supposed to be an integral part of high school sports.
"We were just supporting a charity and I think that it was dumb that we had to get a technical foul for it," Burke player Michaela Brown told KPTM.
The reality is, of course, that the technical wasn’t dumb at all. Rules are rules. They’re not something that should be selectively applied whenever the officials see fit. The only mistake that the officials in question made was not realizing that a violation occurred prior to the start of the second half. The technical foul should have been called immediately.
Plus, all things considered, the notion that two free shots changed the course of what wound up being a 15-point victory is a little ludicrous. It’s very hard to envision a scenario where a team could build momentum off two free throws at the beginning of a half that they wouldn’t have been able to build otherwise.
Seems like a non-issue.
What do you think: was the foul justified?