Estill Co. Superintendent critical of Owsley Co. Sheriff during basketball game

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BOONEVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Estill County Superintendent Jeff Saylor is revealing his findings following an incident in a district basketball tournament game between Estill and Owsley counties.

Saylor said he doesn't know what exactly started the incident, but his investigation determined an Owsley County coach shouted obscenities at Estill County middle school students. An Estill County parent would confront the coach, which led to the disorder.

The superintendent said the fan shouldn't have confronted the coach and instead contacted school administrators or game management.

Saylor believes Owsley County Sheriff Brent Lynch exacerbated the incident when he went into the stands to confront a fan believed to have been shouting obscenities.

"First, Sherriff Lynch, who is also an assistant coach for the Owsley County Girls’ Basketball Team was dressed as a coach and was not dressed in uniform. Being dressed in uniform or showing a badge is always the best practice in this situation. Second, what made the situation worse is that he had identified the wrong person. A lady was confronted, grabbed by the arm and given no chance to plead her case. Her little girl who was sitting beside her was terrified and began crying because of the incident," Saylor said.

Lynch previously told WKYT he announced himself as sheriff and asked some fans to leave because of the language they were using. Some Estill County fans have said they didn't know he was the sheriff and thought a coach was coming into the stands. Saylor said his school's fans have been viewed negatively following the incident.

Owsley County school leadership defended the actions of its administration and coaches. Saylor said Estill County administrators were first to respond to the incident.

Saylor believes this incident is a learning opportunity for both school districts, and fans should focus on cheering their team instead of attacking the opposition.

Estill County Schools says it will develop a plan to address atmospheres for future games.

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