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Kiamichi All-Star Classic communication gaffe penalizes local athletes

June 9, 2012

I spent Memorial Day Weekend in Enid, helping my soon-to-be 86-year-old mother decorate the graves of our family and friends. We did 21 graves on a very humid Saturday morning before Memorial Day.
While I was putting flowers on the graves and sweating puddles of perspiration, I got a phone call from a local athlete's parent — Kim Standridge, whose son Austin, was on Cameron's baseball team.
I had put a preview story in the May 26 edition as an advance for the 40th Kiamichi All-Star Classic with the names of our local athletes who made the softball, baseball and basketball teams.
Kim told me when she read the story, it was the first she had been made aware that Austin had made the baseball team — and apparently she wasn't the only Leflore County individual who was in the same boat. I found out numerous local coaches, parents and athletes were made aware of their honors when they read my preview story.
Cameron Athletic Director/Softball Coach Roy Butler said he found out his player, Cheyenne Adams, made the team, at about 11:45 a.m. that morning. By then, it was too late to try to get Cheyenne notified and taken to Eastern Oklahoma State College's softball field for the game.
“They needed to do a better job (of notifying us),” Butler said. “There's no excuse for what they did. Cheyenne deserved to play in that game. I went back to April in my e-mails, and I never got anything from them.”
Cameron Boys Basketball Coach Dustin Hall found out through the preview story that his player, Ryan Carter, made the North basketball team. Luckily, since the game was at night, Hall had time to notify Carter, who made the game.
However, because of lack of notification, Kim said Austin had already planned a trip to Houston because it appeared as if his weekend was going to be free. She also was trying to notify other parents that their kids made the Kiamichi All-Star Classic teams.
Later that same day, Scott Gregory, who is now the new coach of the Poteau Lady Pirates basketball team after several seasons with the Heavener Wolves, called me. He found out the same way — reading my preview, seeing that his Heavener senior player Shaun Bradley had made the basketball team. By this time, it was too late to get Bradley to the games.
Gregory also said that his fellow coaching colleague, McAlester Buffaloes Coach Jerry McCormick, didn't find out until about two days before that he was named the North boys basketball team coach.
So, I thought I needed to find out where the communication gaffe happened. So, I made contact with EOSC's Director of Communications and Marketing Trish McBeath, who was the individual who e-mailed me the rosters from which I based my preview story for the May 26 edition.
When I got back from Enid from my Memorial Day Weekend visit with my mom and my doctor for my normal six-month check-up, I e-mailed Trish what happened. It took until earlier this week before she could get back to me. Here is her response:
“I checked into this issue. Eastern faxed notifications to schools informing them that their student athletes had been selected for the Kiamichi All-Star Classic. The college received confirmation that all faxes were successfully sent on our end.
"Coaches and students were asked to confirm their participation and provide information for the program by a specific deadline. The college did not follow-up with each student individually.
“Since we have been made aware of the situation, Eastern officials have decided to review the player selection and notification process and determine what improvements can be made for next year.”
While this won't help the county senior players for the 40th Kiamichi All-Star Classic who were unable to participate due to this communication gaffe, but will likely help those local seniors who will be asked to play in the 41st Kiamichi All-Star Classic during Memorial Day Weekend 2013.

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