In an impressively quick timeframe, for which they probably deserve some praise, the Big East Conference has admitted that their referees made a mistake at the end of of the controversial Big East Tournament game between St. John's and Rutgers. In the final seconds of the game, Justin Brownlee of St. John's traveled, stepped out of bounds, and threw the ball into the stands with time remaining on the clock. The officials let the game end when Rutgers should have been given the ball, either for a traveling violation or Brownlee stepping out of bounds. The Big East confirmed that their officials missed both of these violations. Arguably, Brownlee could have also been called for a technical foul for throwing the ball into the stands.
At the end of the game, the referees left the court instantly. CBS college basketball analyst Seth Davis commented on twitter that if the officials had stayed on the court, they could have reviewed the video and corrected their decision. According to the statement issued by the Big East, this is false.
"Both missed violations should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur prior to the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA playing rules."
As our own Andrew Sharp pointed out earlier today, it's a bit ridiculous that the officials couldn't get this right in the year 2011. But, if they missed it initially, there's obviously nothing that they could do about it under the current rules. So, if we agree that the violations should have been reviewable, we're opening up an entirely different can of worms. What is reviewable and what isn't? At what point in the game do out of bounds calls and/or traveling violations become reviewable? Why are we allowed to look at whether a player took a two point or a three point shot, but not an out of bounds call? Aren't they essentially the same thing, a dude stepping on a line?
Hats off to the Big East for admitting their mistake, but can the NCAA seriously sort out these rules?