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SEC admits refs blew call in Gator game

We noted on Saturday that it looked as though Florida received a little bogus help from SEC officials in their “win” over Arkansas.

Most notably, there was a pass interference call that wasn’t and a phantom personal foul on an Arkansas player.  Additionally, a case could be made that UF wide receiver Riley Cooper committed offensive pass interference after those two blown calls. (The three calls under suspicion can be viewed right HERE.)

Well, this afternoon, the SEC admitted the officials working the game had erred, although they only publicly admitted that one of the calls was wrong.

After reviewing the events in The Swamp, the conference released a statement addressing the personal foul call.

“After video review, there was no evidence on the video to support the personal foul penalty called on Arkansas midway through the fourth quarter.”

The league did not publicly address the pass interference call that preceded the personal foul and occurred on the same drive, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that the SEC said that call was a “judgment call” and “a review of those calls have been communicated to Arkansas.”

It should also be noted that the same crew involved in the events this past Saturday was responsible for the phantom excessive celebration penalty on Georgia’s A.J. Green in the LSU-UGA game.  The league came out shortly after that game and admitted the officials should not have flagged Green.

Look, it’s all well and good that the SEC is willing to admit that their officials are not infallible.  But, when are they going to, you know, prevent it from happening before it really costs someone a game?  Especially when it comes to the crew that seemingly has no clue as to what exactly constitutes a personal foul or excessive celebration.

All this is doing, right or wrong, is making the conference look shady, and giving conspiracy theorists ample video ammunition that something is not on the up and up.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the press release from the SEC, courtesy of the Birmingham News:

As is standard procedure, following each game, institutions will send a list of plays from its previous game to the conference office for review and comment. We have been in contact with Arkansas concerning this review from its game against Florida. We did communicate to Arkansas that, after video review, there was no evidence on the video to support the personal foul penalty called on Arkansas midway through the fourth quarter. The other calls that were referenced are judgment calls and a review of those calls have been communicated to Arkansas.

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Respond to “SEC admits refs blew call in Gator game”
  1. JVan says: Oct 19, 2009 5:49 PM

    Guess what: OH WELL

  2. Observer1 says: Oct 19, 2009 7:03 PM

    I posted yesterday that this is exactly what the SEC would do. The repercussions will only come when the wrong team wins due to a blown call. The league has tens of millions of reason that they want Florida to win. Believe what you want, but the official know that too. They have tremendous pressure on them not to err against the #1 ranked team in the country.
    If anything, the Florida player initiated contact on a player totally out of the play. He should have been call for a personal foul. Not only did they screw Arkansas out of 15 yards but really they did out of 30. It should have been a deadball personal foul and would have put Florida behind the eightball.
    Anyone that thinks one or two calls can’t cost you the game are naive.

  3. ROLL TIDE ROLL says: Oct 19, 2009 8:02 PM

    Ok SEC, Do what’s right. Suspende the ref for the rest of the season. Twice in two weeks. Come on, Give me a break. The refs don’t deserve one. Bias on their part for sure.
    And yes, I’m an SEC fan and a Roll Tide Fan.

  4. overratedgators says: Oct 19, 2009 8:03 PM

    “We did communicate to Arkansas that, after video review, there was no evidence on the video to support the personal foul penalty called on Arkansas midway through the fourth quarter.”
    They then added: “But since keeping Florida # 1 is so good for ratings and profits … suck it, Arkansas. Next week: we’ll be planting vials of crack in the Mississippi State locker room.”

  5. John Taylor says: Oct 19, 2009 8:09 PM

    “They then added: “But since keeping Florida # 1 is so good for ratings and profits … suck it, Arkansas. Next week: we’ll be planting vials of crack in the Mississippi State locker room.””
    I think I just peed a little reading that…

  6. Observer1 says: Oct 19, 2009 8:43 PM

    If the voters had nuts, which they don’t, they could vote Florida down as if they lost the game. The problem is the voters don’t have a clue and wouldn’t do it.
    PLAYOFF PLEASE. Until it happens crap like this will continue to go on. Money talks and BS walks. Conference will keep manipulating things to make sure they have two teams in the top 6 of the BCS.

  7. george says: Oct 19, 2009 9:35 PM

    Having officiated numerous sports throughout my career as a sports and recreation manager, I know that no official likes to be second guessed. But blowing a call in an intramural or local event pales by comparison with a blown calls during a major NCAA conference game with BCS implications.
    It would seem that the unwritten laws that accept human foibles leading to mediocre officiating should be not be allowed to affect major college or pro events. In case they haven’t heard, voice and visual technology has adequately progressed that the review official that most major conferences now have in the press box could be tasked to review all plays to insure the integrity of the sport.
    Forget using the “judgement” call excuse because that’s what it is. I’m sure that the NCAA could spare some of the millions$ that its BS (oops, I meant that) rankings and events are raking in to get it right. So NCAA, create a review procedure and then re-train officials to lose their egos while learning to implement the procedure.
    And then lose the BS system!

  8. justafanoffootball says: Oct 20, 2009 2:05 AM

    Consider the enquity of a football world where its okay for the NCAA to take way multiple victories already won, but no one gives a game back to a team who lost it due to inaccurate calls by the referees. The SEC needs to be pressured to make amends in a more responsible and effective manner than just issuing a lame apology when their referees have without a doubt changed the outcome of a game. I don’t want to keep hearing it has always happened. This needs to STOP. It has to be demoralizing to players who practice with every fiber of their beings, hearts and souls and who sweat and toil in all kinds of weather, and valiantly play with injuries, just to be screwed by someone who lifts no more than a yellow flag!

  9. tampalawyer says: Oct 20, 2009 9:53 AM

    Disclaimer: I am a UF fan. Must I say it two days in a row? Oh please. I haven’t officiated at any U8 girls soccer games, but yes, the personal foul call was very questionable. But with 7 minutes and change left in a 7 point game, no one can say whether it altered the game. As to the interference calls yesterday labeled as “horrendous,” you really have to have no knowledge of football whatsoever to make such an overstatement. If you watch the replays you can see that the Arkansas DB screens and/or pushes Thompson off the ball BEFORE he turns to make a play on it. It is a judgment call, but it is also defensive pass interference. On the offensive interference call, a closer call, the DB appears to screen Cooper off from the ball and, yes, Cooper makes a play for the ball through the DB — typically, officials will give the WR more latitude to make a play for a ball than the DB, but it’s far from blatant interference or “horrendous.” It wasn’t a push off or a pick which are the two most commonly-called types of offensive pass interference. Again, all Arkansas had to do was put the Gators away when they had multiple chances to do so rather than whine about these calls. They played a great game and their fans detract from their great effort with the ref-bashing. As to the mindreaders out there who can tell that the ref’s had BCS implications in their minds, who’s to say that some of them might not have liked to see an upset? Maybe there were some offensive holding penalties overlooked that gave Mallet extra time to throw? I’m not saying that happened, but I am as entitled to guess as you are.

  10. woodman says: Oct 20, 2009 11:12 AM

    tampalawyer…it does make a difference when the calls are late in the game and they determine the flow of the game. The SEC determined and apologized for their mistake. How do the computer geeks code that into their already ridiculous rankings.

  11. woodman says: Oct 20, 2009 11:15 AM

    Observer1 is absolutely correct in his thinking. Nothing will be done as long as the team that is supposed to win wins…..the team with nothing at stake will always loss the argument…….especially in the “I love the SEC” BCS.

  12. tampalawyer says: Oct 20, 2009 12:28 PM

    Woodman — not sure you read my post carefully — first, I don’t agree at all that the interference call/non-call were “horrendous”. In fact, I think both were correct calls as made. Thus, the only call I concede is the personal foul with more than 7 minutes to go in the game and Arkansas up 20 – 13. That was clearly a bad call. But remember that, first, Florida actually had to score the TD after the penalty, and, admittedly, the Arkansas defense might have been a bit deflated and couldn’t hold off the Gators. But then, Arkansas had more than 7 minutes to control their own destiny and win the game. They did not. Do remember that UF gave up 4 fumbles — 2 in the red zone. Again, if Florida takes care of the ball, we’re not even here debating interference penalties. All of which brings up the real point — throughout all of these posts, mine included, there are alot of “if’s”. While I’m here and someone is talking about voting down teams — Florida beats UK 41 – 7, and Alabama beats UK 33 – 20, both games at UK. Is Alabama better than UF based on those consecutive weeks’ play? I have no idea, but Alabama isn’t #1 because they handily beat South Carolina and UF escaped Arkansas this week. Alabama crushed North Texas and UF beat creampuffs Troy and Charleston Southern. What really matters is the SEC game in Atlanta in December, provided both teams make it there. UF will have its hands full this week with Miss. St. and I bet Alabama doesn’t steamroll Tennessee. Isn’t that what makes this so fun? Don’t blame the refs — it’s lame.

  13. tampalawyer says: Oct 20, 2009 12:46 PM

    One more thing you might find interesting Woodman: on sports talk radio this morning, they were discussing the 6 computer geek rankings in the BCS. Apparently, 3 of the geeks rank the SEC as the best conference and 3 rank the Pac 10 as the best. Curiously enough according to the radio, 2 of the 3 geeks who rank the Pac 10 as the strongest are Pac 10 grads. So, Woodman, if not the SEC, which is the strongest conference? Big 10? See Ohio State vs. LSU or Florida. Big 12? See Oklahoma v. Florida? All that being said, I am not sure there is a good solution to determining the NCAA football national championship. The BCS was an imperfect solution to a system that I think we can all agree was flawed [i.e., just the AP and UPI/Coaches polls]. I favor a playoff a la the lower divisions, but the TV/bowl revenue issue will never allow that to occur.

  14. twofbyc says: Oct 20, 2009 3:13 PM

    tampalawyer…I have some glasses for you, so you can see better. It IS pass interference to grab a player’s arms to prevent them from catching a ball, whether you are a receiver or a defender; that does not fall under “attempting to catch the ball”. Look at the play one more time. And on every pass play I have witnessed where there is contact, there is almost always more contact than what was present in the PI penalty called on the Arkansas defender. You do not make that call at that stage of a game, based upon what you saw.
    You might be a lawyer, but your homervision is appalling.
    Personal foul call was “questionable”? That’s the lawyer in you talking, not the football fan. There is absolutely no question, by anyone who viewed it, including Rogers Redding, that it was anything but a bad call. Questionable….indeed.

  15. deepintheswamp says: Oct 20, 2009 3:30 PM

    ok, it is over , what is going to get accomplished talking about it now? it is water over the dam. suspend the ref, suspend the entire ref crew, ok.
    I have said it before and i will say it again, Fla still must win the East, with the SEC Championship, then see what happens.

  16. tampalawyer says: Oct 20, 2009 4:49 PM

    Mr. Revere — 2 if by sea that is — you must not read well either. First, I admitted my bias. Second, I said the personal foul call was both “very questionable” and “clearly bad.” I also used the word “concede” so I’m not sure why you think I’m defending it. As to the interference call, I guess you are referring to the supposed offensive interference non-call? I can’t see, from the clip I looked at, Cooper grabbing the DB’s arm, but I do see him reaching across the DB for the ball. If you look carefully, you don’t even see the Arkansas DB complaining after the play — he simply high fives another DB. Obviously, you’re not talking about the interference call against Arkansas. Finally, this isn’t hockey where you don’t make a call based on the period or whether it’s the playoffs — you make the call if it’s right, period. If you’re saying that some calls are right depending on when they’re made in the game, then you’re arguing for “judgment calls” to be made — more homer than I could ever be. Care to disclose which team you support? Let me guess: Tennessee, Georgia, FSU, Miami?

  17. unevenload says: Oct 20, 2009 5:55 PM

    Tampalawyer – tough to make an argument for Florida being better than Alabama when you state “UF will have its hands full this week with Miss. St.”. Admitting that should disqualify any team from a national championship.

  18. tampalawyer says: Oct 21, 2009 9:55 AM

    All I was saying is that Miss. St. is much improved from previous years, and it’s at Hattiesburg. I’m more realistic than cocky about it. We will win, but it won’t be a blowout. As to Alabama, I bet even the biggest Tide fan would admit that their game against Tennessee won’t be a cakewalk either. I don’t think I’ve conceded anything. If you’d prefer I be a blowhard, get another Tampa lawyer.

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