How an Entire Officiating Crew Messed Up One Play

A couple weeks back, football fans around the country were treated to a wild, nail-biting finish of the Miami-Duke football game.  What got lost in the commotion as time ran out was the fact that the Hurricanes’ winning touchdown shouldn’t have counted.

Due to multiple mistakes made during that crucial play, the entire officiating crew from that game has been suspended for two conference games by the ACC.  What we can’t understand is, how could so many of these infractions went unnoticed by the ENTIRE crew?

In a news release, the ACC detailed four mistakes missed by the on-field crew and replay officials, including replay erring in not determining that a Miami player’s knee was down. That would have ended the game with a Duke win instead of the remarkable, eight-lateral touchdown by the Hurricanes that spanned 49 seconds for their 30-27 victory. The result could end up impacting who wins the ACC Coastal Division.

The suspended on-field officials are referee Jerry Magallanes, Terrance Ramsay, Mike Owens, Jim Slayton, Robert Luklan, Bill Dolbow, Michael McCarthy and Tracy Lynch. The replay official is Andrew Panucci and the replay coordinator is George Burton.

college FB refs

The ACC said the on-field officials should have penalized Miami for an illegal block in the back at the Hurricanes’ 16-yard line. Had that been called, the ball would have been placed at the Miami 8-yard line and the game would have been extended for one untimed down.

The ACC said the referee “did not effectively manage communication” after the officials picked up a flag on a block in the back at the Duke 26-yard line. According to the ACC, the replay official was not involved in the decision to pick up the flag — doing so would have violated NCAA replay rules — and the on-field crew appropriately decided themselves to wave off the flag.

Finally, the ACC said the on-field crew failed to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of the play. This penalty would not have negated the touchdown because it would have been enforced as a dead ball foul.

“The quality of our officiating program is of the highest importance to the league and its schools, and the last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Officiating is an extraordinarily difficult job but our players, coaches, programs and fans deserve the best that can be offered. We will continue to strive to meet that standard.”

We understand that this type of play is rare, and it’s not easy to see everything that’s going on, given the chaos that is taking place.  But to have several potential penalties go unnoticed by everyone in the crew is truly remarkable.  These guys really shouldn’t be allowed to officiate championship-level games for quite some time. Time to brush up on the rules, fellas!

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