The Pac-12 has made its feelings known on the controversial ending to Saturday night's Wisconsin-Arizona State game, adding one more note to the discussion around a bizarre series of events that may have cost the Badgers the game.
Walnut Creek, Calif. -- Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has reprimanded and taken additional sanctions against officials in Saturday night's Wisconsin at Arizona State game for failing to properly administer the end of game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game's final play, it was announced today.
With 18 seconds remaining in the game, Wisconsin's quarterback ran the ball toward the center of the field, touched his knee to the ground and then placed the ball on the ground. There was initial uncertainty over whether the quarterback had taken a knee, given himself up or fumbled the ball. As a result several Arizona State players considered the ball live and a fumble, and attempted to recover the ball.
Neither the referee nor anyone on his crew moved with appropriate urgency to clearly communicate that the ball was to be spotted so play could resume promptly.
"This was an unusual situation to end the game," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "After a thorough review, we have determined that the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. We will continue to work with all our officials to ensure this type of situation never occurs again."
What went wrong in the game's final seconds was explained perfectly by Spencer Hall.
With 18 seconds left, down by two points on the right hashmark, the Badgers decided to kneel the ball closer to the middle in order to give their kicker a more straight-on opportunity to win the game. It appeared that Wisconsin's quarterback bumped into an offensive lineman, rendering himself unable to actually kneel and making the ball live after he dropped it.
Replays show that was clearly not the case, however, which made the Arizona State defender who summarily jumped on the ball look quite foolish. He looked less foolish as the game played out, however, and the refs did not stop the clock, the Badgers watched, and the game ended without a field goal attempt.
Pac-12 response good enough for Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen?
Reporter asks Andersen about the Pac-12 statement: "I'll react to it the way I'm supposed to react to it according to B1G, Alvarez…"— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) September 16, 2013
… but personally, "No, it's not enough."— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) September 16, 2013
The Big Ten previously told Wisconsin that the Pac-12 officials made a mistake with the final call. Arizona State head coach Todd Graham naturally disagreed. Former Pac-10 and NFL officiating executive Mike Pereira echoed the Big Ten's statement, saying the Badgers "should have had another play."