ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Members of the UIL State Executive Committee held a hearing Wednesday morning regarding the attack on a high school football referee during a game at Marble Falls. Two San Antonio John Jay High School football players have been suspended from school by the district and are awaiting disciplinary hearings, but the UIL seemed just as concerned with the culture of the football program.
“There were some things that occurred, some ejections that were not handled well by the coaching staff and then this (hit) came at the end of the game. There is no excuse for it,” said UIL’s Executive Director Charles Breithaupt.
Officials and fans say multiple Jay players were ejected, given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and were talking trash prior to referee Robert Watts being blindsided. Northside Independent School District fficials faced questions from the committee about the culture of the program and whether coaches did enough to curtail the violent behavior of their players.
“At some point, the coach should have called time out to gather his team,” says committee member Gil Garza about earlier ejections.
Northside Superintendent Brian Woods said some allegations require further investigation including a claim an assistant coach encouraged the attack and another that the referee made racial slurs. But Woods does not think the culture of the program encouraged the attack.
“We don’t believe the actions of those two young men are representative of the other athletes on that football team,” said said Woods.
The assistant coach accused of encouraging the attack is currently on paid leave while NISD investigates the allegations.
No punishments were handed down, but the UIL said they want to collect as much information as possible before possibly handing down discipline at their next meeting in two weeks.
Michael Fitch, the executive director of the Texas Association of Sports Officials, says no official complaint has been received against the referee, but they are expecting to receive one. Once the complaint is received, they will begin their own investigation which will include interviews with other officiating crew members about what possible words were exchanged. Watts was a fill-in member on the officiating crew according to Fitch.