UW-BYU Officiating Controversy Not Going Away

The Pac-10 probably hoped that all this hubbub over the end of Saturday’s  Washington-BYU game (read this if you’ve been living in a cave and don’t know what’s going on) would blow over and everyone would be more than happy to put it behind them and move on. But you don’t know Terry Bowden very well, do you Pac-10?

Terry Bowden

Bowden’s scathing criticism of the call brought the whole incident back into the limelight, then later in the day the Pac-10 officiating coordinator slyly threw the game’s referee under the proverbial bus.


From Bowden’s RIVALS.COM column:

It was a horrible call.

I’m not just making a knee-jerk reaction to a 15-second video clip I saw on TV, either. I was there broadcasting the game for Westwood One Radio.

After Washington quarterback Jake Locker dove across the goal line, he got up off the ground and in one quick, excited instant, tossed the ball over his shoulder. He did not do one thing that could have been construed as unsportsmanlike conduct.

“After scoring the touchdown, the player threw the ball into the air, and we are required, by rule, to assess a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,” Pac-10 referee Larry Farina said. “It is a celebration rule that we are required to call. It is not a judgment call.”

That’s a bunch of baloney.

Officials make judgment calls all the time. If they didn’t, we would have holding penalties on every single snap.

And while he won’t go as far as Bowden, Pac-10 coordinator of officials Dave Cutaia didn’t exactly seem to endorse Farina’s “my hands were tied” explanation. Cutaia seems to recognize that Farina’s story was an attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility for the decision, and subtly calls him on it. From the ASSOCIATED PRESS:

“Every call is a judgment call,” he said. “[The official] saw the ball thrown very high in the air and made the call. I can’t say the call is incorrect.”

So it’s not a judgment call, but it is a judgment call.

Two seasons ago, questions were raised about Pac-10 officials working non-conference home games when Oklahoma was victimized by a series of terrible officiating decisions late in a game in Oregon. Now it’s becoming increasingly clear that Pac-10 refs just shouldn’t be allowed to work any game.

Of course, what everyone seems to be ignoring in all of this is that the 35-yard extra point attempt was swallowed up so easily by the BYU defense that it perhaps renders this point moot. That kick wouldn’t have been good from 35 feet, let alone 35 yards.