Rio Grande City
The Class 5A Boys Basketball Bi-District Championship game between Edcouch-Elsa and Rio Grande City ended 52-51 ending the season for the rattlers. Several calls were met with criticism from spectators but one call in particular has raised more than one question. TASÓ official Micheal Rudd failed to stop Edcouch-Elsa player Christian Lira from shooting a 3 pointer with .10 seconds left to play. Those that were at the game were stunned that the official failed to acknowledge that time had already expired and therefore the basket should not have counted.
It is not a mere opinion or suggestion but it is clearly defined in TASO rule 5.2.5,”When play is resumed with a throw-in or free-throw and three-tenths of a second or less remains on the clock, a player may not gain control of the ball and try for a field goal. In this situation only a tap could score.” Video from that night shows that was not the case.
What has infuriated parents and discouraged players however, is learning that Rudd is known to be friends with the coach of Edcouch-Elsa and officiating the game should have been considered a conflict of interest.
President for the local chapter of TASO, Robert Torres spoke to El Tejano on Tuesday afternoon and admitted that the play shouldn’t have happened. Torres stated that to his knowledge all officials try to call a perfect game every time but human error alone prevents that from happening. When faced with allegations of conflict of interest and even the fact that one of the officials on the court was considered a rookie Torres first explained that coaches can ask to remove an official they don’t believe should be at their game. In terms of conflict of interest Torres said that when the association looked at a random sample of officials they found that most officiated for games in which conflict of interest could be considered a factor.
Regardless of the situation the game is considered final but much to dismay of those that follow the game the officials are already scheduled for more games. Torres says that there is a shortage of qualified officials valley wide and suspending any of the three officials; Micheal Rudd, Eddie Zavala and Freddy Martinez, that were on the court that night could further hinder games. The association is said to have over 300 officials but Torres says that there simply isn’t enough. Those that are close to the association cite preferences and internal politics as the reasoning behind any shortage.
Since the game parents and players feel the association has failed to acknowledge the mistake. When asked if the association would consider an apology to the players Robert Torres stated that it would be discussed during an emergency meeting. However, he used the fact that professional teams do not get an apology as his reasoning thus far for not providing an apology or statement.
In Rio Grande City; fans, parents, and the community at large stands behind our athletes. Their hard work and dedication to the sport does not go unnoticed. They may not have moved on to the finals but on behalf of El Tejano Publications, Thank You for playing like the champs you have proven to be!