The controversial missed call to end the Illinois High School Association Class 7A semifinal football game is setting the stage for an unprecedented development: A court deciding the outcome of a state playoff game.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets, Fenwick filed suit following its 18-17 overtime loss to Plainfield North, “seeking declaratory, injunctive and other relief against IHSA,” which admitted that Fenwick should have won 10-7 in regulation, because referees inaccurately charged Fenwick with intentional grounding on a fourth down play with just 5 seconds remaining, a move which awarded Plainfield North an untimed down and the opportunity to tie the game with a field goal, which it hit.
In the aftermath of the play, and subsequent loss, Fenwick filed an appeal in Cook County Chancery Court, which will be heard Wednesday morning. The school had to go all the way to public court to appeal because it was ruled that the IHSA Board of Directors does not have the authority to reverse bylaw 6.033: “the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.”
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson first admitted the officiating crew’s error just hours after the game concluded Saturday, all while insisting that the IHSA could not intervene to change the result.
“There is no doubt that the crew assigned to officiate this contest by the IHSA should have known this rule and they were forthcoming about the error in conversations after the game,” Anderson wrote in a statement. “The crew also understands that there will be an assessment of their performance and consequences from the IHSA as a result of this error.”
Should a judge find in Fenwick’s favor, the Friars could be reinstated into the playoffs, at the expense of Plainfield North.