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

Toledo Syracuse Football

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.”

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13 Responses to “‘No recourse to reverse outcome’ of Toledo-Syracuse game”
  1. rowbear says: Sep 26, 2011 3:39 PM

    Someone at Syracuse should step up and vacate the win. I know that doesn’t give it to Toledo, but it would be the right thing to do.

  2. brian327 says: Sep 26, 2011 3:41 PM

    There may not be a way to reverse the outcome of the game, but it is now Monday afternoon, how is everyone involved in making that call still employed?

  3. rhercik says: Sep 26, 2011 3:47 PM

    @rowbear… Completely agreed. It will never happen but it would give some cred to Syracuse and make the situation a little less embarrassing. Of course with Syracuse leaving the Big East, they have no incentive to spare the Big East from this.

  4. thesecplaysforkeeps says: Sep 26, 2011 3:48 PM

    What if they didn’t count the PAT?

    Then SU is up 29-27. Maybe a fire is lit under their asses at the thought that they could easily give up a potential game-winning field goal.

    Instead, they are up 30-27 and know all they have to do is avoid giving up a TD, feeling lucky to have scored a TD themselves with such little time.

    Either way its pathetic. SU shouldn’t be that close to a loss to a non-BCS team. But what can you expect from a non-SEC team…


  5. southernpatriots says: Sep 26, 2011 3:56 PM

    JT: You sure got it right…if this would have happened the SEC those making such a horrible error? would have paid with their jobs or eye sight checked and double checked with an eye check before any game they would work in the future. I would hope no violence would happen to anyone because it is a game, but there would have been severe repercusions, probably stretching out to next season and beyond.

    This is very sad. It only reinforces why some would want to do away with the NCAA. They have hundreds of pages of rules negatively affecting the athletes and no recorse on this situation. Priorities are all messed up at the NCAA.

  6. goforthanddie says: Sep 26, 2011 3:56 PM

    So much for replay solving such problems. And how in the blue Hell do you get a PAT replay call wrong? Has the replay ref been drug tested? Fired?

  7. burntorangehorn says: Sep 26, 2011 4:05 PM

    “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.”

    It did happen to Oklahoma. Anyone remember the three-try kickoff?

  8. andy44teg says: Sep 26, 2011 5:19 PM didn’t officials reverse a call 2 weeks ago that gave USC an extra TD against Utah?? The only difference here is that it would have changed the winner/loser…but shouldn’t that be more important than getting the final score right on a play that didn’t even matter??????

  9. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 26, 2011 5:45 PM

    The USC-Utah reversal was about money….. Vegas money. USC wasn’t going to cover the spread whether utah made or missed that FG, but a block for a return changes everything.

  10. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 26, 2011 6:16 PM

    either way, neither of these teams are SEC worthy. I mean Toledo, Syracuse…. Would be lucky to win 1 combined game with an SEC schedule. Thats because the SEC is the greatest conference of all time.

  11. katanaguy says: Sep 26, 2011 7:14 PM

    120% agree that Syracuse should vacate the win-no ifs ands or buts….after all aren’t we trying to teach students to do the right things in life? What’s wrong with common decency anymore? Would make a great thesis for a Syracuse student’s PHD candicacy….and no I do not follow either school’s football program-just a football fan in general who respects fairness to all.

    Imagine this happening in the BCS Nat’l Championship?

  12. lbijake says: Sep 26, 2011 9:16 PM

    If Syracuse refuted the win, they would be tought of as a classy institution. If they insist on taking ownership of a win they do not deserve, they will be remembered in that way. The win will only be good for this year, a selfless act will be a long time remembrance.

  13. nothimagain says: Sep 27, 2011 1:17 AM

    The call had to be correct. The referee told us that replay confirmed it.

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