Certain mistakes from college football officials are forgivable. Understandable, even. Like, say, ruling BYU running back J.J. Di Luigi down before his obvious fumble in the following play from the Cougars' Saturday meeting against San Diego State :
It's a bad call, but that's what the replay booth is there for, right? Except that the replay booth didn't bother to intervene--SDSU head coach Brady Hoke had to challenge the call to get it reviewed. But hey, that's what the coach's challenge is there for, right? Except that even after the review, the booth let the ruling on the field stand. BYU kept the ball, scored a touchdown on the drive, and would go on to win a 24-21 squeaker .
That kind of ineptitude falls under the heading of neither understandable nor forgivable, and so it's not particularly surprising that the Mountain West has suspended the three men responsible in the replay booth from working this week's MWC action. Hoke wasn't entirely certain of how things had gone so wrong:
Regardless of what happened exactly, it sounds like some pretty serious mistakes were made. But hey, if there's anything we can safely assume, it's that those were honest mistakes borne of human error, and that there wasn't any bias or favoritism involved. It's not like one of the guys in the booth was a BYU employee or anything. Oh wait :
[I]t’s not clear if the missed call resulted from human error, technical difficulties or a communication breakdown. Aztecs head coach Brady Hoke initially said after the game he was told by the Mountain West Conference that the replay official didn’t have access to the same video feed that viewers at home saw on television. On Tuesday, Hoke said he learned the replay booth did have access to that same feed after all.
“I don’t know where they fell short,” Hoke said. “They were given the feed. I don’t know if the technical official gave the feed to the replay official. I don’t know how it all works in the box. I just know the feed was available to them and they didn’t use it.”
A Brigham Young University athletic department employee was one of the three replay booth staffers who were suspended for botching a crucial replay review in San Diego State’s loss last week at BYU ...So: a BYU employee has a direct hand in making an officiating call that could decide a BYU game. That is something for which even "unforgivable" doesn't quite cover it. Coach Hoke, what would you call it?
In this case, BYU video coordinator Chad Bunn served as the technical advisor for the MWC in the booth along with head replay official Mike Angelis of Reno, Nev.
“I wouldn’t think that would be appropriate.”Suffice it to say, the CBS College Football Blog does not feel that would be appropriate either. Officials have a hard enough time already convincing common fans there's no bias or slant in their decisions; allowing individuals with a vested interest in the outcome to have such a major influence on those decisions is obviously a big, big step in the wrong direction.
At the very least, the Mountain West honchos-in-charge can console themselves that they're not the SEC. LSU fans who found out they'd lost on a bad call aided and abetted by a Tide employee would have gone torch-and-pitchfork on someone's rear end by now.
HT: The Wiz of Odds .