By JAMIE BAKER
SPORTS EDITOR

COLUMBUS — The OHSAA has slapped Columbus Africentric girls basketball coach William McKinney with a fine and one-game suspension for postgame comments about the officiating after the Nubians’ 85-46 Division III regional semifinal win over Riverdale on Wednesday at Lexington.

After the contest, McKinney was angry about the way the game was called, and how he says his team and other predominately African-American basketball teams are treated by officials.

McKinney’s comments directed toward the officials were reported by The Courier’s Scott Cottos as well as the Columbus Dispatch and Upper Sandusky Daily Chief Union.

The OHSAA suspended McKinney for Africentric’s next game, Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. regional final at Lexington against Archbold, and fined the school an undisclosed sum.

“When we were up (27-18 in the second quarter), we went to our five-out, held ball,” McKinney said in Wednesday’s postgame meeting with the media, referring to a slowdown offense. “Because the calls were so bad and the calls were so terrible, we had to play like that, not because we game-plan (for that) against the other team; we have to do that to take the officials out of the game. They scored 25 points in the first half; 14 of them came from the free-throw line.”

Still seething, McKinley added:

“That was this game. That was the district championship. It was just a terribly officiated basketball game, and it’s unfortunate because us being an African-American team, the officials call the game totally different when it’s a game and it’s all-white teams. That’s just the bottom line. I went and scouted the game at Ohio Northern (Archbold versus Liberty-Benton in Tuesday’s regional semifinal), and they let those young ladies play. It was a great game. But with us, it’s like five on eight. We’ve got to do a better job of getting good officials to officiate better games.”

McKinney’s comments violated OHSAA’s general sports regulation regarding comments to the media.

Public criticism of officials by coaches to media members and on social media is forbidden by rule and coaches are encouraged to use good judgment when discussing officiating with the media, according to OHSAA director of communications Tim Stried.

Coaches and participants are expected to make no derogatory public comments directly to the media or through the use of social media regarding not only the officials, but also players, coaches or schools, according to OHSAA general sports regulations regarding dealing with the media.

Stried said the OHSAA typically handles several similar situations during the basketball season although, unlike McKinney’s charges, most derogatory comments about officials are from losing coaches.

Baker, 419-427-8409
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