And We Thought It Was the 21st Century

Female Ref Barred From Calling Game
AP Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 13) – Kansas activities officials are investigating a religious school 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 policy of not allowing female referees to work boys basketball games.

If that is indeed the school’s written 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.

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