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Two coaches suspended for comments about refs

12:00 AM, Jan. 23, 2013 EST

McQueen Lancers coach John Franklin talks with his team during their basketball game against the Reno Huskies on Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2013 at McQueen High School. / Tom R. Smedes/Special to RGJ

Boys basketball coaches John Franklin of McQueen and Torrey Sheets of Damonte Ranch on Tuesday afternoon were suspended one game each by the NIAA for disparaging comments of game officials.

Franklin missed his team's home game Tuesday night against Wooster. Sheets is appealing the suspension. If he loses the appeal, Sheets will miss Friday's game at Wooster.

NIAA assistant director Jay Beesemyer handed down the suspension pursuant to rule 386.845, which prohibits defamatory comments of officials by players or coaches to the media.

"I don't look at one case compared to another, or one case compared to history or past infractions," Beesemyer said. "If what was said violates the rule, it violates the rule and comes with a suspension."

Franklin and Sheets earned their suspensions in very different ways.

Sheets was upset with a technical foul late in Friday's five-point loss to Galena and expressed his frustration to the RGJ after the game.

"In a close game with two minutes left, for a technical to be called on something that didn't appear to be very disturbing to me, good officiating will let that go," Sheets said after his team was outscored 15-8 following the technical. "In that situation, it better be really bad and, in my opinion, I don't think it was."

Franklin took to Twitter on Sunday to express his frustrations with the region's referees. He questioned their fitness, bias and dedication.

"It's a shame that coaches and players have to get better every year but the Reno area high school refs continue to get worse!" Franklin tweeted.

"Completely unfair to the kids that guys who have invested absolutely nothing control the outcome of their games!!!!

"Can everyone out there stand up and help me remind the Refs in this area that its not about them! No one cares about them!!

"It's all about the kids! Refs STOP coming to games with preconceived notions on who YOU think should win! Let these kids decide the outcome!

"It's become increasingly clear to me that the refs in this area are never going to take their craft serious enough to go get better at it!"

After another reporter on Monday engaged Franklin on the subject the coach continued to vent.

"I know it sounds like I'm not happy with the refs. I think I'm more upset with the fact that we all sit back and say nothing.

"Thank you everyone for standing up! Lets continue to shine this spot light on the refs in this town. They are blowing it for the kids. ... Don't let them get away with this anymore."

Franklin did not return a message left on his cell by the RGJ.

"Franklin definitely violated the rule, no matter how you want to interpret 'media'," Beesemyer said.

Then-Hug football coach Rollins Stallworth was suspended for the 2008 season opener for comments he made about a call in a Galena-North Valleys game in 2007.




Boys Basketball

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