Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday the league has reprimanded and levied additional unspecified sanctions against officials in the wake of a controversial finish to the Wisconsin-Arizona State football game Saturday night.
“This was an unusual situation to end the game,” said Scott. “After a thorough review, we have determined that the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. We will continue to work with all our officials to ensure this type of situation never occurs again.”
Wisconsin, behind 32-30, drove to the Arizona State 13-yard line, with no timeouts left and 18 seconds remaining. The ball was on the right hash mark, and Badgers quarterback Joel Stave moved to center it on the next play, appearing to take a knee to set up a spike of the ball so Wisconsin’s field-goal team could attempt to win the game.
Stave laid the ball on the turf, and with about 12 seconds left, Arizona State linebacker Anthony Jones fell on it and covered it for most of the remaining time. As the clock neared expiration, Stave and a couple of Wisconsin players gestured to officials to hurry, but the clock was never stopped and allowed to run out.
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“We knee it with 15 seconds left and never had a chance to snap it again,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen told reporters after the game. “I don’t know how that happens.”
Arizona State listed the game officials as referee Jack Folliard, umpire Douglas Wilson, head linesman Ryan Dickson, line judge Steven Kovac, side judge Aaron Santi, field judge Kevin Kieser and back judge Steven Steichen.
The Pac-12 said the sanctions were taken “for failing to properly administer the end of game situation.” Its statement also said, “Neither the referee nor anyone on his crew moved with appropriate urgency to clearly communicate that the ball was to be spotted so play could resume promptly.”
Under Scott’s four-year regime, the league has taken steps to improve the officiating in both football and basketball. In 2006, Oregon won a controversial game against Oklahoma after a highly disputed onside kick, and last year there also was controversy involving an onside kick near the end of the Wisconsin-Oregon State game won by the Beavers.
Meanwhile, the basketball officiating program took a serious public-relations blow last spring after coordinator of men’s officiating Ed Rush resigned following comments in which he offered rewards for officials who would call a technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org