It all started the way so many things in college football start: a blown call. Back on Oct. 9, a Mountain West conference replay booth ruled that BYU running back J.J. Di Luigi was down when he was obviously not , and a fumble recovery that could have led the way to a San Diego State victory instead became a first down that led to a BYU touchdown and a 24-21 Cougar victory instead.
Then it was revealed that two of the officials in the replay booth -- the "replay communicator" and "replay technician," who do not make decisions on reviewed calls but are responsible for providing the head replay official with the replay in question -- had BYU ties, one being an alumnus and the other a current BYU athletic department employee. Things unraveled from there: SDSU coach Brady Hoke called the situation "not appropriate"; the BYU-affiliated officials offered either no comment or an angry no comment at every turn; the MWC first suspended all three officials involved and then banned school alumni or employees from serving as replay officials at the schools they represent; an SDSU broadcaster called BYU " the dirtiest, slimiest, most ill-behaved football team" the Aztecs play and was forced to apologize.
And somehow, the furor has still more legs to it as three prominent SDSU boosters (one the former CEO of Jack in the Box ) have decided to take their complaint straight to the top of the BYU chain-of-command:
Leon Parma, Bob Payne and Jack Goodall sent the letter to BYU President Cecil Samuelson via express mail on Monday. In it, they also ask him to “declare the game forfeited” to SDSU if he finds evidence of gross negligence or foul play committed by the BYU alumni who were working for the Mountain West Conference video replay booth that day.Odds this leads to a hard-hitting inquiry from Samuelson's office that results in a forfeiture: very slim. Odds this leads to some sort of veiled "mind your own business" retort from the BYU administration: much better.
“There are too many open questions for you not to act on this matter,” said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune ...
“Your representatives have stonewalled the press and others asking for an explanation and have... denied access to the three officials in the replay booth under the direction of either or both BYU and/or the conference commissioner’s office. You have the ability to clear the air on the issue.”
But this is not to say that the SDSU boosters don't have a point. No less a personage than SDSU athletic director Jim Sterk has claimed that head replay official Mike Angelis wasn't shown the primary television feed that showed Di Luigi fumbling; if this is true, and the issue is more complicated than a replay official simply overlooking an obvious call, then the Aztecs have every right to know why that feed wasn't offered to Angelis.
That the Mountain West has yet to confirm or deny that key detail means that the longer the two BYU-affiliated officials go on issuing "no comment"'s, the more it appears they have something to hide. For the sake of the conference's integrity, it ought to issue a statement either clarifying what replays Angelis had access to and exonerating the officials of "gross neglicence or foul play," or admit that Angelis was denied key information and reveal whether this occurred through unfortunate human error ... or something worse.
If the MWC does not offer further comment, all indications we have to date are that the volleys back and forth between San Diego and Provo are simply going to continue until it does.
HT: The Wiz .