Girls' Basketball Teams Fined for 'Mockery' of a Game

Tennessee teams ejected from postseason for playing to lose
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2015 4:55 AM CST
Girls' Basketball Teams Fined for 'Mockery' of a Game
A referee talks to Riverdale high school coach Cory Barrett, left, and Smyrna high school coach Shawn Middleton during a high school basketball game in Murfreesboro, Tenn.   (AP Photo/The Daily News Journal, Steve Hardison)

Two Tennessee high school girls' basketball teams have been chucked out of the playoffs after a farcical game that the referee says both teams tried to lose. According to the referee's report from the Saturday game between Riverdale and Smyrna, players "missed 12-16 free throws intentionally," "wouldn't get the ball across the half-court line to get a 10-second count or to make us call an over and back violation intentionally," and one player "looked at one of the officials and gave the official a 3-second signal, wanting him to call three seconds on her," the Daily News Journal reports. The ref says the last straw was when a Smyrna player was about to shoot at the wrong basket.

Both teams were trying to avoid facing top-ranked Blackman High School in the tournament, reports USA Today. After the referee ordered both coaches not to make a "travesty or mockery of the game," Smyrna ended up winning, but the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association decided to pull both teams from the postseason, fine the schools $1,500 each, and put them on probation for a year, ESPN reports. Smyrna's principal tells the News Journal that he and his counterpart at Riverdale failed to convince the TSSAA to allow both teams to stay in the playoffs with both coaches suspended. (During the 2012 Olympics, eight badminton players went home early after playing to lose.)

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