Pac-10 Takes Accountability

September 19th, 2006

by Justin Waganer
Senior Sports Writer

Nothing will change the record book or give Oklahoma back a celebration that they earned and deserved, but the Pacific 10 conference did own up to mistakes made by their employees Monday afternoon. The onsides kick, consequent recovery, and pass interference calls from Saturday’s Oklahoma-Oregon game were reviewed by Pac-10 officials and the conference did take responsibility. Here’s a recap from the release:

An onside kick by Oregon after its first touchdown was touched by an Oregon player before it had traveled the required 10 yards, and the ball accordingly should have been awarded to Oklahoma at the spot of touching. Further, while the ball was determined to have been recovered by Oregon by the game officials, video shows an Oklahoma player actually recovered the ball. That aspect of the play is not reviewable by instant replay by rule.

The play was reviewed by the instant replay officials, who concurred with the field officials that Oklahoma had touched the ball with Oregon recovering and the play stood as called on the field.

A subsequent Oregon pass play on which pass interference was called on Oklahoma also was reviewed to see if the forward pass had been touched by a defensive player, thus nullifying the pass interference call. The replay officials ruled that there was not indisputable video evidence that the touching had occurred.

“The fact that the errors on the onside kick altered the outcome of the game is most unfortunate and unsettling,” Hansen said. “We had a solid veteran crew assigned, and the instant replay official had a fine career as a referee in the Pac-10. We believe in the ability and integrity of each individual involved. It should be noted that not all of the seven officials were directly involved in the play in question, but the entire crew bears responsibility for every play. Game officials and replay officials have positions of great responsibility and must be accountable for their actions.

“Errors clearly were made and not corrected, and for that we apologize to the University of Oklahoma, Coach Bob Stoops and his players. They played an outstanding college football game, as did Oregon, and it is regrettable that the outcome of the contest was affected by the officiating.
“Because of the ramifications, we are taking action against both the members of the officiating crew and the instant replay official and his assistant. Each individual will be suspended for one game, and their work in future games closely monitored.

So what does this mean to Oklahoma fans? The game is over and done with, the outcome will not be changed, however, fans should move on, not forget. This game will live in Sooner infamy, but more is possible from this 2006 squad. President Boren should not drop his quest for more changes that he addressed in his statement on Monday, but this should provide some solace, unlike 2005’s Texas Tech game that had insult added to injury by the calls being called correct after review by the conference.

While I believe that the suspension is weak at best, one game does nothing other than marginally affect one’s pride, at least the conference is trying to correct a wrong. Fans are still allowed to feel cheated or wronged, but Middle Tennessee, Texas, and the other seven teams after that are still coming to play anyways, it is time to move on.

Move on to the Blue Raiders, but don’t forget, changes should be made before Oklahoma waltzes into Washington in 2008. Officiating should be reviewed, the process should be reviewed, and what CAN be reviewed should be reviewed. Don’t tell me that who recovered an onsides shouldn’t be able to be reviewed, just tell me if there isn’t any evidence to be reviewed. Allen Patrick emerged with the ball BEFORE officials marched in to declare possession ON VIDEO, if whistles blew, they blew incorrectly.

Don’t tell me it can’t be reviewed; tell me if there is ANYTHING to REVIEW!

Entry Filed under: Oklahoma Sports

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