Officiating mix-up forces Green Forest to forfeit
One thing coaches at any level don't like to see is miscommunication.
On Friday, miscommunication cost Green Forest. The Tigers and Lady Tigers were forced to forfeit three games to Melbourne when no referees showed up to officiate the games.
The Arkansas Officials Association (AOA) is responsible for having enough referees available for each school throughout the state. Two weeks in advance, Lady Tigers Coach Kyle Farrer contacted the regional offices in Harrison, Mountain Home, Batesville and Fort Smith to bring officials to the game. After having no luck finding officials in that area, Athletic Director Jay Martin called the Northwest Arkansas office in hopes of finding officials in that region.
"I got a call from the Northwest Arkansas office two hours after Jay (Martin) talked to them on the phone," Farrer said. "They said, 'Coach, I got you fixed up for Friday night.' I said, 'it's Melbourne, it's homecoming, Friday night, three games. It starts at 5:30.' They said, 'Coach, we gotcha.' I never thought about it again."
At 5:10 p.m. Friday, Farrer began to think about it again because the officials hadn't shown up yet, and he and Martin were beginning to get worried. At 5:20 p.m., Farrer called the office to see what was going on.
"That's when the fiasco started," Farrer said. "They were saying they never schedule anything with Green Forest. They tried saying we were Eureka Springs."
Farrer proceeded to call Brian Rambo and Adam Brothers, the boys and girls coaches at Eureka Springs. Rambo, whose team was traveling to Decatur for a game, didn't get back to Farrer until later that evening.
"When (Brian) Rambo called me back, he said they had scheduled Eureka to play Malvern," Farrer said. "That's a town in south Arkansas that isn't going to be coming to Eureka Springs in the middle of conference season and they knew that. When Brian (Rambo) emailed them and said something needed to be done, I guess they just canceled the officials and never bothered to ask anybody. Long story short, we didn't do anything wrong, but we had to forfeit three games because of someone else's mess-up."
The thing that bothers Farrer the most is knowing all three games would have been competitive.
"I don't know if we would've won any of the three games, but they weren't going to run any of us out of the gym," Farrer said.
Even without officials, all the teams still played. The junior high boys played with Coach Ryan Whetham and Farrer as officials. The varsity boys and girls each played a half, but Farrer said it is hard to judge if the two teams were playing at their full potential.
"I don't know if either team had anything to play for," Farrer said. "But it's hard to deem anything from the outcome of the games."
Along with the homecoming coronation, the cross country team was presented with its rings between the two varsity games.
Green Forest travels to Bergman on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at at 5:30 p.m.