UHSAA weighs in on East-Jordan suspended game

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12 2012 1:00 p.m. MDT

East/Jordan prep football in Salt Lake City  Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) East/Jordan prep football in Salt Lake City Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

MIDVALE — The suspended football game between East and Jordan must be played or the stats won't count, according to the UHSAA's executive committee.

The issue about whether or not the stats could count if the game was never finished made its way to the Utah High School Activities Association's executive committee Wednesday morning.

The group discussed the issue and then decided that the two principals decided to suspend the game and the two principals should find a resolution. But as per national federation rules, stats from a game that doesn't count cannot be used in any official tally.

"If the game doesn't count, then the stats don't count," said executive committee chairman Craig Hammer. "You don't have one and not the other."

The Sept. 2 game featured 4A's top team and 5A's number one ranked squad in a non-region showdown. The game was suspended because of a fire hazard within East High's electrical system with 41 seconds left in the third quarter with East leading 28-27.

The two principals met on the field as the stadium was being evacuated and decided to finish the game the following morning at 10 a.m. East High Principal Paul Sagers went to his team locker room and was informed that the school's medical team recommended not playing the final quarter of the game because of risk to the players.

Both principals met with UHSAA assistant director Kevin Dustin, who attempted to negotiate a compromise by saying the game wouldn't count as a win or a loss for either team, but the stats would be official. After considering precedent and in consultation with the national federation, it was sent to the executive committee in hopes of finding a resolution, not only for this game but any similar situations.

"What we're trying to do is try and create a standard that we can rely on in the future," said Dustin. "We did have a standard, but it was somewhat vague and didn't apply to all situations."

The one thing that can't happen is that it remains a suspended game indefinitely.

"If it's suspended, it just floats out there," said Hammer.

He referred the committee to the handbook (page 51, section B) that says, "The point of suspension will be marked in the score book for future reference. A tentative date for resumption of play will be decided at that time and the officials will be notified. The same officials should complete the game. … All games/contests will continue from the point of suspension until the game is completed."

In other words, the game should be finished or the score at the time of suspension should become the official score.

Both coaches and both principals indicated to the Deseret News last week that if the game was going to count, it should be finished. Jordan High had suggested several dates, one of which was next Monday after school.

"If we have to decide, if they can't agree to play, then it's not a game," said John Haning, Woods Cross principal.

The group agreed with that sentiment.

"We'll send it back to the principals to work it out," said Hammer. "If they can't, then the game doesn't count. And it has to be finished before the first Friday of the state tournament."

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