IHSAA Will Not Comment on Hit That Led to Former Lincoln Football Coach’s Arrest
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Executive Director Tom Keating says any discussion or review of a controversial hit during the second quarter of the Dowling vs. Lincoln varsity football game last Friday night will stay private and is “between the association and the official.”
“We don’t comment on that publicly, ” Keating told Channel 13’s Whitney Blakemore. “Whether an official made the right call or if an official did not make the right call, we wouldn’t comment on that publicly either way. It happens within the constructs of the game. You know, officials have a very short period of time to make a call. Any conversation about any call that involves the [IHSAA] would be between the association and the official in terms of whether we felt the mechanics could’ve been better, whether we felt position could’ve been better. You know, a call could’ve maybe gone one way or another, that’s all conversations between the officials and the association.”
Former Lincoln High School assistant football coach, Jason Storm, is now facing criminal charges after confronting a referee following the controversial hit. Forty-four-year-old Storm is charged with one count of first-degree harassment for the incident. Police say he turned himself in and was booked into the Polk County Jail at 4:22 a.m. Wednesday.
The criminal complaint in the case claims Storm left the sideline and threatened referee Scott Zahnle, saying he was going to “f—–g kill him” due to the missed call. It also says Storm had to be “physically restrained from attacking the Head Official by other members of the coaching staff and he had to be escorted out of the Valley Football Stadium due to his aggressive behavior.”
Keating says Zahnle is a 21-year veteran referee.
Zahnle filed a police report about the incident with the West Des Moines Police Department.
“It’s in the hands of law enforcement now and that’s kind of out of our realm,” Keating said. “Coach Storm doesn’t coach at Lincoln anymore so we [don’t] have a connection with him anymore. He’s not under the guidance of the IHSAA after resigning.”
Keating also said there “is no change” in regards to this officiating crew continuing with the season.
“If they have a game scheduled then they are to honor those contracts and there isn’t any change of perspective on that,” Keating said.
Keating added he hopes everyone can learn from this unfortunate situation, including the association, and can “move on from there.”
“Player safety is important. I mean, that’s paramount. We want our officials, just like we want our players, and our coaches, we want our officials to work at their craft and be at their best. We want our coaches to work at their craft and be at their best and be good role models for our young people. We hope fans demonstrate positive support for their teams. So all of those things go together. We don’t ignore any one of those things,” Keating said.