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Huskies cry foul on officiating

Oct 6, 2009, 7:30 AM EDT

For much of the season, Notre Dame and their fans must have felt like a secret vendetta was being carried out against the Irish by the officials.

You could continue to say the same thing after the Washington game on Saturday, with a bizarre roughing the snapper call giving the Huskies four extra shots at the end-zone from the one-yard-line, and the ability to milk precious time off the clock. Luckily the Irish’s goal-line defense stood tall and rescued the team from certain defeat.

But as much as the Irish were upset with another set of referees, the Washington Huskies have continued to bang the drum of the aggrieved.

Running back Chris Polk made no bones about his thoughts. “I’m at peace with it because the nation knows we should have won and they know we should have won,” Polk said. “So as long as they know that, I’m okay with it.”

Polk cited the overturned 6-yard run that was originally called a touchdown but eventually ruled down at the half-yard line and Robert Hughes two-point conversion runs as his irrefutable proof.

“Everybody knows if you watch the replays, they know that the two-point conversion that his knee was down, and that when I scored it was a touchdown. They didn’t beat us, the refs beat us, in a sense.”

Washington athletic director Scott Woodward is also pressing for review of some controversial plays. He openly questioned how the Big East replay officials handled their duties.

“My concerns are about the integrity of the replay booth and it being split in crews with a Pac-10 crew handling the on-field officiating and a Big East team in the replay booth,” Woodward said.

I’m actually kind of shocked that people actually associated with the team and the athletic department are pursuing this. Any concerns and complaints with the officiating that don’t even mention the bizarre roughing the snapper penalty is disingenuous.

As for Polk’s “touchdown,” I thought that was a pretty cut-and-dry call of him not quite getting in, but the argument could be made for their not being enough irrefutable evidence to overturn the call. As for the Hughes play, depending on what color glasses you’re wearing, you’ll see that as an extraordinary effort by Hughes and company, or a blown call by the officials both on the field and in the booth.

I don’t think Sarkisian has the heart to complain about the 2-point play, just because he was on the sideline at Notre Dame Stadium for another famous goal-line push, and that one just happened to go his way.

A common theme in all of these close plays is the role a replay board would play in all of this. If coaches had a chance to watch instant replays on a scoreboard, they may be better able to use their challenges, or call their timeouts to make sure that replay officials take a look at these close plays.

Yet for me to take any sniping at the officials seriously, Washington needs to admit that they were given four extra plays at the one-yard line for free. 

  1. piratey - Oct 6, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a149/T-BOB75/IMG_0255.jpg
    That picture pretty much clears it all up, don’t you think?

  2. TLNDMA - Oct 6, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    What I don’t understand, in all these replays this season that have overturned the original call, is the rule says conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the field. I guess the word conclusive, needs to be defined in the rule book. Seems to me the question for the replay booth is, are you sure you see the correct call?, otherwise let it stand as called. Now if conclusive has another definition, as far as the NCAA is concerned, they should take the heat off their referees by explaining it.

  3. Jeff Majerek - Oct 6, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Jeeez… a roughing the snapper – giving him the ball on the 1/2 yard line! Had he scored when he claims to…. or had they not gifted UW with a patented roughing the snapper call – seen where else – ND Stadium called by Pac 10 refs. They would have won or more likely – just given Clausen more time with the ball to score again and again and again…
    When all things are rebalanced in the universe, and they soon will be: We will win again! We will dominate again! Because? WE ARE ND… and they’re not!!!!!!!

  4. teo - Oct 6, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    That picture seems to clear it up. The role of the replay official is not to substitute his judgment for that of the officials on the field. It’s to merely ascertain whether conclusive evidence exists to overturn the call on the field. Now, the picture seems to be conclusive. A clearer shot would be nice — one showing whether his knee was actually down on the ground — but it appears that his knee is down and the ball is not yet in the end zone. That picture — if a clear one exists and it was available to the replay official — would be conclusive.
    At the same time, no one can doubt the ridiculousness of the roughing the snapper call. I don’t remember seeing a call like that in my lifetime. Roughing the snapper? Inside the ten yard line? It’s virtually unheard of.
    The bottom line: both teams received the benefit of the officiating. The officials aren’t perfect — they’re often far from it — but I don’t think there was any animus in the replay booth.

  5. don - Oct 6, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    UW got robbed!

  6. Seattle ND grad - Oct 6, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Big East review refs: reversed Wash TD (upon challenge by Weis, not of own accord); didn’t review Hughes 2 pt conversion (Sark didn’t challenge – on replay sure looked like Hughes knee down, but impossible to see where ball was at that moment, could have been over line – not “conclusive”)
    PAC-10 field refs: phantom roughing snapper call; phantom holding call on ND touchdown pass early in game; phantom pass interference on ND; ticky-tacky roughing the passer call on ND; illegal procedure penalty on Wash inside 5 yard line called only AFTER Wash had fumbled on play
    What’s important: 1) ND won! 2) Wash back big time, by beating USC now in Rose Bowl

  7. twalker - Oct 6, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    Piratey – Your picture does not clear anything up. If you look at the picture that you posted, the ball doesn’t look like it has crossed. However, if you look at the 2 officials on the goalline – the close guy has one foot in the endzone, the far guy looks like he is right on. But the guy in the background looks like he is “more in the endzone”. So the angle of the shot has everything to do with the perception. Check out this link that shows it better than I can explain it.
    http://www.950kjr.com/pages/mitch_in_the_morning_page.html
    Also, here is a great pic – from the goalline of the 2 point conversion. http://www.bustersports.com/blog/pac-10-news/2009/10/05/pac-10-week-5-report-card/

  8. ED. - Oct 6, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wash. fans are just jealous of NOTRE DAME.
    I THOUGHT the wash player knee was down. Horrible call roughing the snapper. How about the roughing the passer call against the IRISH?
    Also I think their was no inference call against wash. They had their breaks.

  9. ED. - Oct 6, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wash. fans are just jealous of NOTRE DAME.
    I THOUGHT the wash player knee was down. Horrible call roughing the snapper. How about the roughing the passer call against the IRISH?
    Also I think their was no inference call against wash. They had their breaks.

  10. ED. - Oct 6, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wash. fans are just jealous of NOTRE DAME.
    I THOUGHT the wash player knee was down. Horrible call roughing the snapper. How about the roughing the passer call against the IRISH?
    Also I think their was no inference call against wash. They had their breaks.

  11. ED. - Oct 6, 2009 at 8:59 PM

    KNEE DOWN CLEARLY. BALLS NOT OVER THE GOALINE. NO TD. IRISH WILL RUN THE TABLE INCL. BEATING USC AND A BCS TEAM!!!!!!
    GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. jan - Oct 7, 2009 at 12:30 AM

    Why are officials affiliated with any conference? Why aren’t they NCAA officials? Perhaps that would lead to more consistency and “level the playing field”. I’m sure that there will always be some human error; but the potential motivation for bias might be minimized.

  13. affiliate network fees - Dec 24, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    To me it is not clear.

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