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

13 Comments

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.”

UTSA-Texas State series rebranded H-E-B I-35 Showdown

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For those not familiar with HEB Grocery Company, it’s a grocery giant founded in Kerrville, Texas, in 1905 by a man named Florence Butt. H-E-B now owns nearly 400 stores stretching across south and central Texas and central Mexico. H-E-B essentially owns the San Antonio area and leases back to its million-plus residents, so it makes sense that when UTSA and Texas State wanted to brand their rivalry, they turned to H-E-B.

Starting this season, the UTSA-Texas State series will now be known as the H-E-B I-35 Showdown

Cue the AD boilerplate!

“We’re thrilled that H-E-B has become the title sponsor for the I-35 rivalry football games between UTSA and Texas State,” UTSA Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said. “No matter the sport, both fan bases always show up in strong support when the Roadrunners and the Bobcats get together on the playing fields. This newly-branded name for the football games this season and next will only add to the rich history between the two schools.”
 
“It is great to have H-E-B supporting the I-35 football series between Texas State and UTSA,” Texas State Director of Athletics Larry Teis said. “H-E-B has a great relationship with the state of Texas and both universities. We have continued to play UTSA in other sports and the rivalry is strong for our student-athletes and fans.”

The two schools are natural gridiron rivals. They sit just 50 miles apart — connected by Interstate 35, of course — and compete for athletes and regular students alike. The Roadrunners and Bobcats have been Olympics sports rivals for years, primarily as members of the Southland Conference. Each football program is (obviously) in FBS now and have met only once, a 38-31 UTSA win in 2012, since the Roadrunners’ program launched in 2011.

The series will resume Sept. 23 in San Marcos, with Texas State making a return visit to San Antonio on Sept. 22, 2018.

Hugh Freeze reportedly made at least a dozen calls to escort services as Ole Miss coach

Getty Images
2 Comments

Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze dialed “at least 12” numbers associated with escort services through online advertisements, according to a review of open records obtained by ESPN.com. The calls took place over a 33-month period, stretching from April 2014 through January 2017, and typically lasted two minutes or less.

Those calls appear to be what Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter referenced as “a pattern of personal misconduct” on the night he resigned. The calls are the second phone related-issue connected to Freeze’s dismissal. He also made at least 200 calls to a booster that is under NCAA investigation.

There are two puzzling aspects to Freeze’s calls to escort services: A) that he made the calls on a university-owned cell phone in the first place, and B) that Freeze did not redact the calls from the records request, since other private calls were removed from the public review of his 39,000 calls as the Rebels’ head coach.

“Any personal calls having no relation to UM business are not public records,” Ole Miss attorney Robert T. Jolly wrote in an email to ESPN. “Personal calls will be clearly marked and redacted from the documents released.”

Freeze went 39-25 in five seasons as the Ole Miss head coach, peaking with back-to-back wins over Alabama and a long-awaited Sugar Bowl victory to close the 2015 season but ending with a 5-7 mark and a self-imposed bowl ban for the 2017 season, which will be coached by interim Matt Luke. Ole Miss will sit before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Sept. 11, with Freeze’s character and strict adherence to NCAA recruiting rules a cornerstone of the school’s defense.

Reports: Oklahoma State RB Jeff Carr to transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jeff Carr is planning to transfer from Oklahoma State, according to a report from Pokes sidelines reporter Robert Allen. That report has since been confirmed by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman. Carr has since been removed from Oklahoma State’s online roster.

A junior, Carr was Oklahoma State’s most experienced running back but was passed on the depth chart by sophomore Justice Hill. Hill ran the ball 206 times for 1,142 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, while Carr rushed 12 times for 83 yards and one score. His 6.92 yards per carry average led the team. Carr rushed 36 times for 142 yards and one score as a freshman in 2015. Carr also saw his touches as a kickoff returner (29 returns to three) and a receiver (11 catches to one) fall from 2015 to ’16.

After losing the Temple, Texas, native, Oklahoma State will have five running backs on scholarship — four freshmen and one sophomore, Hill.

Multiple outlets have reported Carr is headed to Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school that will permit Carr to play immediately.

Georgia Southern names redshirt freshman Shai Werts starting QB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Georgia Southern is rolling with a freshman at quarterback this season.

The Eagles have announced that redshirt freshman Shai Werts will be the club’s starting signal caller to begin the season. Werts beat out junior college transfer Kado Brown and junior LaBaron Anthony to win the job.

“I think Shai certainly came in and took the majority amount of snaps with the ones both in spring practice and in camp and I thought he did a great job,” head coach Tyson Summers said in a statement. “I think that you see him have a very clear understanding of what we want do on offense. I think you see him have a very clear understanding of what he’s got to work on to get better at and I think that he’s done a tremendous job from a leadership standpoint on the field and in the classroom and in the meeting room. He’s certainly one of the key leaders for our entire football team, not just in the quarterback room and not just the offense, so I’m very proud of Shai.”

Werts replaces Georgia Southern’s two departed quarterbacks in seniors Kevin Ellison and Fabian Upshaw. The pair combined to complete 112-of-190 passes (58.9 percent) for 1,485 yards (7.82 yards per attempt) with 12 touchdowns against five interceptions while rushing 208 times for 1,019 yards (4.9 per carry) with nine touchdowns. As a team, Georgia Southern ranked 101st nationally in yards per play and 78th in scoring.

A native of Clinton, S.C., Werts stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 190 pounds. He was named the HSSR-SCHSL Division I AA Offensive Player of the Year as a senior at Newberry High School.

“All the work I’ve been putting in, it’s finally paid off,” Werts said. “I called my mom and she just went crazy so I’m glad that she’s proud of me and I can’t wait to tell the rest of my family.”

Werts will kick off its season at No. 12 Auburn on Sept. 2 (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).