KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas activities officials are investigating a 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."
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.
Gary Musselman, the association's executive director, said the organization will not make a decision until it confirms whether St. Mary's Academy has a written policy of not allowing female referees to work boys' basketball games.
If that is indeed the school's policy, Musselman said, the association could decide to remove St. Mary's Academy from the list of approved schools and take away its ability to compete against the association's more than 300 member schools.
St. Mary's Academy officials declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
St. Mary's Academy is among 30 schools on the list that are not full association members but compete against schools that are. Musselman said St. Mary's Academy plays one or two games per season against member schools but has no more scheduled this school year.
Musselman said the association hopes to resolve the matter sometime this week. He said he sent a letter to the school's principal, Vicente A. Griego, the day of the incident but has not heard back from him.
Putthoff and other supporters of Campbell said they believe state activities officials will handle the situation properly.
Campbell did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
However, she told The Kansas City Star that she was "dumbfounded" by the incident but that she is not angry at the school. She said she does not want the situation to go any further than it already has.
"This issue was going to come up eventually," said Campbell, 49, a retired Albuquerque, N.M., police officer who now lives in Ozawkie, Kan. "I just happened to be the person who was there this time.
"It's kind of a sticky situation. It needs to be looked at carefully, slowly, with all the facts."
I didn't read the article you posted but I heard about this on the news the other day.. I agree with mamaTT I think its ridiculous and I don't really think they are going to get to far with that reasoning..