AUGUSTA — A local printing company has apologized for a snafu with the cover of the basketball state championship programs, which the Maine Principals’ Association produced and sold for $5 during the Class B games Feb. 28 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The game programs featured a full-page ad for Spalding basketballs on the front. The back cover featured logos representing each of the schools and teams participating in the 10 state championship games. The two covers were inadvertently flipped, officials said.

In response to questions from the Kennebec Journal, J.S. McCarthy Printers spokesman Michael Tardiff issued an apology in a statement this week, saying the company scrambled late Friday night, Feb. 28, to correct the mistake and re-print hundreds of more copies that were to be sold the next day in Augusta and Portland for the remaining eight state title games.

The front cover of the Maine Principals’ Association program for the boys and girls basketball Class B championship games Friday night in Bangor featured a full-page ad. Kennebec Journal photo by Travis Lazarczyk

“J.S. McCarthy Printers would like to apologize to the athletes and coaches who worked tirelessly for an opportunity to compete at this elite level,” Tardiff, the vice president of marketing, wrote in a statement. “While we at J.S. McCarthy Printers strive for perfection, we are human, and unfortunately, mistakes do happen. Our biggest regret is that our actions took the spotlight away from the MPA, the coaches, and most importantly, the players, who represent some of Maine’s best and brightest student-athletes. We also wish to thank our own team of dedicated employees for working through the night on Friday to deliver corrected programs before tip-off on Saturday.”

Seven J.S. McCarthy employees worked through the night Friday into Saturday to produce corrected programs for the state championship games Saturday; Class C and D at the Augusta Civic Center, and Class A and AA at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

J.S. McCarthy was asked to provide 500 corrected programs and delivered 600, Tardiff said. The MPA was not asked to pick up the cost of any of the corrected programs, Tardiff said.

Prior to the Class B state games in Bangor, MPA assistant director Mike Bisson acknowledged a printing error but placed the blame on Alliance Sports Marketing, a firm contracted by the MPA for the program.

MPA Executive Director Mike Burnham, in an e-mail to the Kennebec Journal on Monday, placed the blame on J.S. McCarthy, which was founded in 1947 and employs about 200 people at its Augusta facility.

But it remains unclear whether MPA officials reviewed a proof of the cover prior to printing, and if so, if association officials signed off on it.

Burnham, in his email to the newspaper, also criticized the paper’s coverage of the program mistake, calling it “a cheap shot at the MPA, clearly written without knowing the details about what happened.”

However, Burnham did not return repeated phone calls and e-mails this week seeking additional comment, after emailing the Kennebec Journal.

Tardiff said J.S. McCarthy worked directly with Alliance Sports Marketing on the programs. Representatives of Alliance were shown a proof of the program and requested no changes before it went to press, Tardiff said.

Tardiff added that several people saw the proofs, but declined to comment if that included anyone at the MPA.

An Alliance spokesperson could not be reached for comment this week.

Tardiff said in an e-mail that 500 copies of the incorrect program were available at the Cross Insurance Center for the Class B championship games, won by the Caribou boys and the Wells girls.

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