For those who felt the officiating crew in last night’s Texas game screwed Iowa State, the Big 12′s response to the apparent gaffe will make you seethe a little more.
Late in the fourth quarter, Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray appeared to fumble inside the five-yard line, with an Iowa State defender recovering with nothing but 95 yards between himself and what would’ve likely been the game-clinching touchdown with under two minutes remaining. However, Gray was ruled down by contact and the call on the field stood upon further review in the replay booth.
One play later, UT scored what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown with :51 remaining.
The Internet proceeded to explode over what was viewed as an egregiously bad call. Rightly so, ISU head coach Paul Rhoads exploded in his post-game press conference as well.
“To make a play on the 1-yard line with our backs against the wall… and to have it taken away from them, that’s hard to express. You don’t just put an arm around a guy and tell him it’s OK when that happens to him,” said Rhoads. “I’ve got pretty good eyesight. The view I had of that gigantic screen in the north end zone showed a guy that was not down and our guy with the football.”
The Big 12, though, disagreed. In a statement, the conference claimed that there simply wasn’t any video evidence to overturn the call on the field.
The ruling made on the goal line play was that the runner was down by rule with the ball. Because of that ruling, instant replay is allowed to review the play, which it did. Had the ruling on the field been forward progress, the play would not be reviewable because the goal line was not involved. The Replay Official looked at all five views available for this play: Line Feed, Goal Line cart, Press Box angle, Sky Cam, and Opposite End Zone camera. He correctly determined there was no indisputable video evidence to confirm that either the ruling on the field was correct, or that the ball was loose prior to the runner being down. By rule when there is not indisputable video evidence to confirm or change the call on the field, the ruling stands.
On this play, the covering official ruled the runner was down and still had control of the ball. There is no question the runner ends up on the ground, and there is no question that eventually an Iowa State player ends up with the ball. However, after reviewing the video evidence it is impossible to tell with certainty when the runner loses control of the ball and at that point was he down or not.
The conference would acknowledge in this unique situation if a mistake were made, but we do not have the video evidence to prove that one occurred.
[/Giant wanking motion]
Of course, the conference acknowledging that one of its officiating crews made a mistake wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but, as was the case in the botched ending of the Wisconsin-Arizona State game a couple of weeks ago, it would’ve shown some accountability on the part of the league.
In addition to the statement on the blown call, the Big 12 also addressed Mike Davis‘ bush-league “block” on a Cyclones player by stating that “[t]he play involving Mr. Davis is being addressed in accord with the Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy.”