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Pac-12 Officiating Crew Reprimanded for End-of-Game Fail

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USA TODAY
September 17, 2013 Tuesday
First EDITION
SPORTS; Pg. 6C
491 words
Pac-12 administers sanctions for officials
USA TODAY Sports

The officials who worked Saturday's football game between Wisconsin and Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., have been been reprimanded by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, the league announced Monday.

The release also said Scott had given the crew "additional sanctions" but did not specify them.

The referee for the game, Jack Folliard, has been working Pac-10/Pac-12 games for more than 30 years.

The release cited the officials' failing to properly administer the end-of-game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game's final play.

With 18 seconds remaining and the ball at the Arizona State 13-yard line, Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave ran the ball toward the center of the field in an effort to get the ball lined up for a winning field goal attempt. Stave touched his knee to the ground and then placed the ball on the ground.

There was initial uncertainty over whether Stave had taken a knee, given himself up or fumbled. As a result, several Arizona State players considered the ball live and attempted a fumble recovery.

Arizona State beat the then-No. 18 Badgers 32-30.

"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," the Pac-12 noted in its release.

The final seconds ticked away with Wisconsin unable to spike the ball to stop the clock or run another play.

"This was an unusual situation to end the game," Scott said in the release. "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 coach Gary Andersen was read the Pac-12 statement at his regular Monday news conference and asked for his reaction.

"It doesn't change the outcome, obviously," he said. "And like I said earlier, I don't expect that. But it's accountability, which at the end of the day is what we ask for."

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement, "The Pac-12 statement speaks for itself and is consistent with what we observed in the closing moments of the game. If properly officiated, the Wisconsin football team would have had an additional down."

Folliard was the referee in a game between Utah and Southern California in Los Angeles in September 2011 that saw the final score changed about two hours after the game.

USC players came off the bench to celebrate as Torin Harris returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown as time expired. USC was flagged for a dead-ball unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. At the time, Folliard said the penalty was declined "by rule." With the game over, the penalty couldn't be enforced.

However, there was no apparent signal that the touchdown counted and the final score was reported as 17-14. Citing "an administrative error," the Pac-12 announced a couple hours later that the score was in actuality 23-14.

September 17, 2013

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