Good Morning Mr. Keating,
My name is Jared Smith and I am the Superintendent of Schools at South Tama County. I am also a graduate of Waterloo West High School.
I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the situation that has unfolded as a result of the ending to the Waterloo West/North Scott substrate final on Tuesday, March 3rd. First off let me say that this was an unbelievable game between two top-ranked teams. As a fan of Iowa High School sports, it is great to see such a high level of play from our student athletes.
The purpose for me writing to you is to make you aware of the reaction in the Waterloo West community to the controversial ending to the game, as well as ask you to consider providing a statement of clarity/closure on the situation.
As you are aware high school basketball fans across the state - especially those in the Cedar Valley - have discussed and dissected the controversial ending of this game at great length. My social media feed, email inbox, and text messages have been full of opinions on this situation. While I thought this story might run its course in a day or two, it appears that the momentum is as strong as ever. As you are probably aware, an online petition has garnered the support of over 6000 individuals. Furthermore, the Waterloo Courier just ran an article about the situation yesterday.
Being in a similar position here as a leader of a school district and a community, I understand you are in a very tough position. There are often no easy answers, and communication on controversial topics can get tricky and can often be a double-edged sword. My request to you is that the IHSAA consider communicating a statement of clarity/closure the Waterloo West community about the decision. I believe that many people are hoping to hear explanation of the ruling, as well as any ideas your organization may have about looking at these rules and procedures moving forward.
If I somehow missed a statement in response this situation, I greatly apologize. I did a quick search trying to find a response to the situation on the IHSAA Website, IHSAA Twitter, and IHSAA Facebook pages and could not find anything. I did see a couple comments from you about the situation (here is one from KCRG), but other than a few quotes I have seen nothing definitive providing clarity and/or closure.
I want to be clear that I am not upset with the situation, I am simply advocating for my hometown that you consider providing transparency for our fans. Having played for the Waterloo West basketball team in the late 90's, and having later worked as a school administrator in the district, I have a good understanding of just how big of a deal this is for our fanbase. We have seen great success with the girls' basketball teams at Waterloo West, as well as the boys' basketball teams at Waterloo East. Many members of the community felt like this was finally the year for the Waterloo Wests boys' basketball team, and perhaps that is why so many people are demanding answers.
I also want to be clear that I have very close ties to the North Scott community. As the former High School Principal at Muscatine, I had a chance to forge very close relationships with our MAC Conference counterparts. Furthermore, I would consider Shane Knocke - the North Scott High School Principal - to be one of my best friends and colleagues in the school administrative world. So I want to be honest in that I am happy for North Scott and will be rooting for the Lancers at the Iowa State Tournament.
We live in a fast-paced world where the news cycle never ends and communities demand transparency and timely responses to controversial situations. I am hopeful that you and the administration at the IHSAA consider providing a definitive statement that would provide clarity and closure to this situation for the Waterloo West community as well as Iowa High School basketball fans across the state.
Dr. Jared Smith
Waterloo West - Class of 2000