Pat Houesworth
Pat Houseworth – 68 year old Vietnam Air Force Police Veteran

(10-4-17)  The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has put veteran referee Pat Houseworth on notice about his social media postings.

OHSAA letter to Pat Houseworth

The letter does list the person(s) who complained to the association, it is not known if it is a school official, coach, athlete or another referee.

Houseworth, who is 68 and a Vietnam Air Force Police Veteran has known to be quite outspoken on political and social issues facing the country he fought for overseas. His opinions on Facebook and his blog (Pat’s Daily Rant) most likely have offended some of those who don’t agree with his thoughts and opinions. Social media does have an option available that allows each user to block someone at their choosing, so it is not something someone is forced to view.

Houseworth, this season for the first time is the crew chief of a team High School Varsity football officials, he replaced the last chief of his team  (50 year veteran official) who was suspended by the OHSAA.  Houseworth over the years has also worked basketball at all levels, along with baseball.

At the end of September WOSU FM radio in Columbus did a story – Ohio High School Athletic Association Won’t Punish Athletes For Taking A Knee   – Tim Stried who is the Director of Communications for the OHSAA talked about the situation facing many high schools in Ohio and across the country:

“However, similar to the collegiate and professional ranks, there is no penalty if that policy is not followed. That of course ties into the freedom of speech and freedom of expression that our country is blessed to have.”

Last September (21st) the OHSAA sent out a memo to all football game officials:

“As officials, you are there to officiate. It is not within the purview (the range of operation, authority, control, concern) of officials to make judgments on personal, social, or political opinions of any player or coach. It is neither proper nor warranted for officials to express their pleasure or displeasure with how players act during the National Anthem.”

“As OHSAA officials, it is our expectation that you stand and face the flag during the National Anthem. Athletes and coaches have their expectations set by their school. These expectations are set by the school (and) are not within the official’s purview.”

Freedom of Speech definition:

The right to speak without censorship or restraint by the government. Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

First Amendment:

An amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.

Houseworth’s officiating is done for now, but he is considering legal action against the OHSAA and will be in talks during the next several week with various sources on what his options and next move will be.

This current handling of a veteran official means one less man to use in the future, just as State High School Athletic Associations are facing a shortage of qualified officials and begging more people to consider the job.