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Schools struggle with fairness in high school officiating

Published: Sunday, Feb. 17 2013 5:10 p.m. MST

Petty recommends having girls and boys play at the same school on the same night using the same three-person officiating crew. Girls would play at 5:15 p.m. and boys would play at 7 p.m.

Both Bennett and Price said not all schools have the facilities to house both boys and girls, and both are quick to point out that it would be girls who get the lesser facilities.

"I know it would happen because it has happened," said Bennett, who points out that Skyline's team was recently asked to use a locker room that isn't even inside the school or gymnasium.

"There is also the problem of when and where to play sophomore and JV games because you practice as a team," she said.

Rasmussen said he would refuse to support that plan unless the girls and boys took turns playing at 5:15 and 7 p.m.

"I'd be delighted to do that, but I don't think we should say one program is more important than the other," he said. "What message are you sending if the girls are always the warm-up for the boys? I think we should be treated equal."

Adds Bennett, "I don’t think it's feasible for all schools … And my experience with girls at 5:15 is that it becomes the pre-game for the main event. Girls games can't be a warm-up act for the boys games. Schools have to manage that so one program isn't demeaned."

Petty is hoping coaches and principals will consider some changes after this season.

"I think there needs to be some kind of compromise," said Petty. "If the girls and boys played back-to-back, it may be even better for girls because they're going to get three officials who may not normally be working their games. To me, that would help improve the quality of officials."

But the bottom line for Petty is that three-official crews improve the quality of the game.

And while coaches and administrators may have to hash out specifics, most agree with Petty that the issue needs reviewed.

"I think it's a great time to revisit," said Bennett. "Based on where we are and what we need, we have to make it more equitable."

Twitter: adonsports, Email: adonaldson@desnews.com

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