We’re still waiting to welcome Kansas into the 20th century.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kansas activities officials are investigating a religious school’s refusal to let a female referee call a boys’ high school basketball game.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary’s Academy near Topeka on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game.
The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy’s beliefs.
Campbell then walked off the court along with Darin Putthoff, the referee who was to work the game with her.
“I said, ‘If Michelle has to leave, then I’m leaving with her,”‘ Putthoff said Wednesday. “I was disappointed that it happened to Michelle. I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
Fred Shockey, who was getting ready to leave the gym after officiating two junior high games, said he was told there had been an emergency and was asked to stay and officiate two more games.
“When I found out what the emergency was, I said there was no way I was going to work those games,” said Shockey, who spent 12 years in the Army and became a ref about three years ago. “I have been led by some of the finest women this nation has to offer, and there was no way I was going to go along with that.”
Shockey noted that referees normally don’t work Saturday games, but he agreed to officiate because his daughter’s basketball game slated for that day was canceled.
The Activities Association said it is considering whether to take action against the private religious school. St. Mary’s Academy, about 25 miles northwest of Topeka, is owned and operated by the Society of St. Pius X, which follows older Roman Catholic laws. The society’s world leader, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in the late 1980s.