WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- The Pacific-10 Conference has suspended for one game the officiating crew and the instant replay officials that worked Saturday's Oklahoma at Oregon football game.
The Pac 10 also apologized to the University of Oklahoma for the officiating on a key play in the game.
A review by conference officials of video of the game revealed that both the instant replay officials and the game officials assigned by the Conference made errors in the final 1:12 of the game, Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen said today.
Oregon won the game 34-33, scoring two touchdowns in the final 1:12.
An onside kick by Oregon after its first touchdown was touched by an Oregon player before it had traveled the required 10 yards, and the ball accordingly should have been awarded to Oklahoma at the spot of touching.
Further, while the ball was determined to have been recovered by Oregon by the game officials, video shows an Oklahoma player actually recovered the ball. That aspect of the play is not reviewable by instant replay by rule.
The play was reviewed by the instant replay officials, who concurred with the field officials that Oklahoma had touched the ball with Oregon recovering and the play stood as called on the field.
A subsequent Oregon pass play on which pass interference was called on Oklahoma also was reviewed to see if the forward pass had been touched by a defensive player, thus nullifying the pass interference call. The replay officials ruled that there was not indisputable video evidence that the touching had occurred.
"The fact that the errors on the onside kick altered the outcome of the game is most unfortunate and unsettling," Hansen said. "We had a solid veteran crew assigned, and the instant replay official had a fine career as a referee in the Pac-10. We believe in the ability and integrity of each individual involved. It should be noted that not all of the seven officials were directly involved in the play in question, but the entire crew bears responsibility for every play. Game officials and replay officials have positions of great responsibility and must be accountable for their actions.
"Errors clearly were made and not corrected, and for that we apologize to the University of Oklahoma, Coach Bob Stoops and his players. They played an outstanding college football game, as did Oregon, and it is regrettable that the outcome of the contest was affected by the officiating.
"Because of the ramifications, we are taking action against both the members of the officiating crew and the instant replay official and his assistant. Each individual will be suspended for one game, and their work in future games closely monitored.
"Officiating on the field is much more difficult than it appears from the stands, and certainly when watching repeated replays. Plays occur at a high rate of speed. Decisions on the field must be made instantaneously. The training and experience of officials at this level enable them to work at a high degree of accuracy. Unfortunately, at the critical moment of this game errors were made," Hansen stated.
"Further, the instant replay official is limited to the views of any play which is made available and must make a timely decision, although on the kickoff play ample views were available," he concluded.