NJ DOE won't overturn controversial basketball game ruling despite referee error

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Saturday, March 9, 2024
DOE won't overturn controversial Manasquan basketball ruling
Toni Yates has more.

MANASQUAN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The New Jersey Department of Education will not overturn the controversial call made on the court of a semifinal high school basketball game this week.

Manasquan High School beat Camden on a buzzer beater shot, but the referees reversed the call saying the ball left the player's hands too late.

Video of the play appears to show the ball leave the player's hand before the buzzer, however, there are no reviews in New Jersey high school basketball.

The referees later admitted they made a mistake that robbed Manasquan of the upset win.

However, despite the error, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said they would not reverse the call.

Lawyers for Manasquan petitioned the Department of Education to weigh in.

The acting DOE commissioner said in a ruling Friday afternoon that he is unable to grant the relief requested and the petition was dismissed.

"The Commissioner cannot find that the officials' decision regarding the basket was anything other than a judgement call, and the NJSIAA rules clearly state that once an official has made a judgement call, no appeals will be honored," the ruling said. "Even if the officials' decision was not correct, under the clear and explicit bylaws of the NJSIAA, it is not reviewable."

The attorney for the school district is taking it one step further and has filed an appeal in court after the DOE's decision.

The championship game between Camden and Newark Arts High School is set for Saturday in Newark.

But in a letter, the superintendent of Newark Schools said he supports delaying the game to allow for a "full and fair decision," adding that the "teams deserve to know that adults who make mistakes can have them corrected."

Assemblyman Sean Kean is drawing up legislation to try to make sure this never happens again.

"In big games in championship brackets, league tournaments, they would have to have replay and it would be a little bit of an investment, but what I've been told, I learned a lot about it over the last few days, the schools that host these games have the technology," Kean said.

ALSO READ | Manasquan continuing fight over controversial buzzer-beater call in semi-final game with Camden

Lauren Glassberg has more on the story.


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