‘No recourse to reverse outcome’ of Toledo-Syracuse game

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For those who missed it, the end of Toledo-Syracuse game this past Saturday was marred by controversy and an inexcusable officiating blunder.  Because fo the two teams involved, the botched call didn’t get much attention nationally, but it should’ve.

Background: with just over two minutes remaining, the Orange scored a touchdown that put them up 29-27 pending the extra point.  The subsequent attempt sailed wide left, but inexplicably was ruled as a made PAT on the field.  That bad call was trumped by the replay official, who confirmed the call on the field and gave the Orange a 30-27 lead despite irrefutable visual evidence that the kick clearly passed in front of the left upright..

The Rockets then kicked a field goal to tie the game and force overtime, but lost on a three-pointer during the first extra session.  Without the blown call, the Rockets’ field goal at the end of regulation would’ve likely given the MAC school an impressive road win over a BcS school.

Instead, they went back to Ohio with another loss.  And, as if to put a cherry on top of the unjust desserts, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

The MAC’s commissioner, Jon Steinbrecher, released a statement Monday afternoon confirming that, based on the NCAA’s rulebook, there is no recourse for either the school or the conference.

Since the conclusion of the Toledo-Syracuse game, I have been in communication with Big East Commissioner, John Marinatto, along with Rogers Redding, Secretary-Rules Editor of the NCAA Football Rules Committee.  By rule once the game is declared over the score is final and there is no recourse to reverse an outcome. (Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3, Paragraph b of the 2011 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations.)

I share the frustration and regret with our Toledo coaches, student-athletes, administration and supporters of the Rockets football program.  Immediately following the game, Bill Carollo, Coordinator of Officials of the Midwest Football Officials Alliance (MAC, Big Ten, Missouri Valley), reviewed the play and was in contact with Big East Coordinator of Officials, Terry McAuley, and both officials agreed that the ruling on the field and replay official both failed to make the correct call. 

As disappointing as this situation is, we are confident that proper action will be taken by the Big East Conference.

The rule Steinbrecher references comes from the 2011 NCAA Rules and Interpretations, and reads as follows: “Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3, Paragraph b, states, “When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final . … By rule, once the game is declared over the score is final and there is no recourse to reverse an outcome.”

Of course, Steinbrecher is correct; the Rockets do not have any recourse according to the NCAA’s rules.  That doesn’t make it right, though.

As one MAC official emailed over the weekend, “imagine the national backlash there would be if this happened to a school like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas or Oklahoma…or in a national title game.”

Or, better yet, the outcry if this had occurred during an SEC game.  Holy hell; the Internet may have swallowed itself whole if two SEC schools had been involved.

Much like the infamous Fifth Down game two decades, however, this one will live — unchanged — in infamy.

UPDATED 4:49 p.m. ET: Toledo athletic director Mike O’Brien has released a statement echoing the tone from the MAC commissioner.

“While we are obviously disappointed for the student-athletes, coaches and fans that an officiating error played a role in the outcome of our football game at Syracuse, we accept the ruling from the Big East and the NCAA Football Rules Committee that the final outcome of the game cannot be reversed. We appreciate the efforts of those who looked into this matter. We consider the matter closed and now look forward to the remainder of the Rocket football season.”

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.