Plain and simple, the officials blew it.
That was the conclusion the San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association came to after a nearly two-hour- long special meeting Tuesday night.
Joe Conte, the association’s liaison to the CIF-Southern Section, met with the officiating crew working last week’s Temple City-Arcadia game, which ended in a 28-28 tie after the crew refused to stay for overtime.
Temple City coach Anthony White and Arcadia’s Jon Dimalante agreed to play overtime. Officials, however, informed both coaches they were not going to stay and proceeded to jog off the field, much to the dismay of a disappointed crowd that booed the officiating crew.
White said he heard one of the officials make a statement about overtime pay. Dimalante didn’t recall that, but was disappointed with how the situation was handled.
Conte said he asked each member of the five-member crew if anyone mentioned anything about overtime pay.
The first four officials answered “no,” but the fifth official – the official working the Temple City sideline – stood up, looked straight at Conte and said he indeed made the statement. Conte said the exact quote was: “You just can’t pay me enough to work overtime.”
“I looked at them and they were astounded, because they had no idea that a statement was made across the field,” Conte said.
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Last week, umpire Darren Winkley, one of five officials who worked the Temple City-Arcadia game, told the Los Angeles Times that none of the officials made a comment about overtime pay and that it was the crew’s policy not allow overtime before league games.
“The statement that Darren Winkley said was absolutely wrong,” Conte added. “That we don’t do overtime in nonleague games is wrong, and that statement turned out to be totally false because someone in fact did make such a statement.”
Conte said the official went to retrieve the clips from the chain crew when someone asked him about an overtime period. That’s when he made the controversial statement.
“He doesn’t even know how he responded to it because it was a statement made as he walked away,” Conte said.
More to the point, the officials had a lapse in judgement by not staying for an overtime period despite both coaches agreeing to it.
“The officials just made a bad decision,” Conte said. “There was a miscommunication between the schools and officials.
“The school should have told them (the officials) before the game, halftime or in the third quarter, and it was never asked.”
Regardless, Conte said the crew should have stayed for overtime.
“Yes,” Conte said, “and that’s in the bluebook – if both coaches agree to overtime. If one coach says yes, one coach says no, you don’t play overtime. It has to be a mutual consent by both coaches.
“It was their (the officials’) impression we don’t do overtime, but it was a mistake on the officials’ part. I don’t know where they got that we don’t do overtimes, because there must have been six overtimes (last) weekend.”
Conte said the association will send a letter of apology to Temple City’s and Arcadia’s administrators. He spoke with both schools’ athletic directors and added that none of the five officials will work a Temple City or Arcadia game the rest of the year and possibly into next year, too.
The officials have assignments this week, but Conte said further repercussions may come when the eight-member board meets Tuesday.
“The unit will have further action on this, which I have nothing to do with,” Conte said. “I can’t begin to tell you what, and I don’t want to jump to a conclusion until the process goes through.”
Conte, whose association oversees 49 schools in 17 sports, has been at the helm since 1975. He said it will take a long time before the association can recover from this setback.
“We’re in the process of damage control right now,” he said. “It was a mistake that was made – no malice, no bad intention.
“It’ll take years to get over this, and it will hang with our unit for years and years and years.”