Stillwater News Press

Letters to the Editor

April 4, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Leave referees’ names out of sports stories

STILLWATER, Okla. — Mike Whaley

Director of Officials, OSSAA

To the editor:

I recently read a sports article on-line that was written by Andrew Glover of your staff on the Class A semifinal girls basketball game played between Seiling High School and Frontier High School at the State Fair Arena. As the Director of Officials for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, I am responsible for assigning officials to the OSSAA’s State Basketball Tournaments. While I am not a trained sports journalist by any fashion; as the OSSAA Director of Officials Mr. Glover’s article alarms me in two aspects.

1. Mr. Glover names both officials in his reporting of the game. I have seen officials’ names appear in the box scores of game reports, but in my 40 plus years of reading sports journalism I do not recall EVER seeing the names of the officials in the body of the sports article. 

2. In Mr. Glover’s final line in his article, he calls the two officials the “stars of the game” and directly ties the outcome of the contest to the actions of these two officials.

Mr. Glover is certainly entitled to his viewpoint of the playing of the contest and the outcome. The Stillwater News Press is free to report on games in any fashion desired and Mr. Glover is free to write his impressions of the game as he sees fit.  However, I take strong exception to him identifying the officials by name and subsequently tying the actions of the officials directly to the outcome of the game.

The men and women that work as officials for the 481 member schools that make up the OSSAA are not professional officials and deserve better treatment in the media than what Mr. Glover provided in his article. The men and women that officiate high school sports have given of their time, energy and resources back to the game and the students in our state.

Mr. Glover’s article, in my opinion as a former basketball official of 33 years and the current Director of Officials of OSSAA, is unprofessional and unethical. The names of high school officials should NEVER appear in the body of sports articles.  Common sense tells us why this should never occur.


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