Man Accused of Dressing Like Referee to Influence Son's HSFB Game in Lawsuit

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 04:  A yellow penalty flag on the field during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears at New Era Field on November 4, 2018 in Orchard Park, New York. Chicago defeats Buffalo 41-9.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

One father allegedly took matters into his own hands to help Nazareth Academy defeat Simeon Career Academy 34-27 in a high school football playoff game Nov. 10. 

According to Dan Gartland of Sports IllustratedRichard Mercado is accused of pretending to work as a referee for his son's game and conferencing with the officials prior to the contest while wearing his full uniform. While he does work as a high school official, he was not part of the crew for the matchup in question.

Parents and boosters for Simeon Career Academy have responded by filing a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs high school sports in the state.

IHSA assistant executive director Sam Knox reportedly admitted to the mistake after the game.

"You're right. A Nazareth father was on the sideline dressed as an official," Knox is quoted in the lawsuit. "I wish I had a good reason why that happened. It shouldn't have happened."

Meanwhile, Mercado reportedly admitted his role in the fraud.

"I did what was needed to make sure Naz won," he allegedly wrote in a Facebook comment, according to the lawsuit.

Regardless of the results of the suit, the controversy takes away from the accomplishments of the players on the field.