Pac-12 Suspends Official For Error In Washington State, Cal Game

Nov 11, 2019, 1:49 PM | Updated: 1:54 pm
Makai Polk #17 of the California Golden Bears gets past Armani Marsh #35 of the Washington State Co...
Makai Polk #17 of the California Golden Bears gets past Armani Marsh #35 of the Washington State Cougars to run in for a touchdown at California Memorial Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Pac-12 Conference announced that they have acknowledged an error in officiating during the third quarter of the Washington State/California game in Berkeley on Saturday, November 10.

With 10:14 left in the third quarter, Washington State received the kickoff and returned the ball to the 50-yard line. The referee threw a flag on the play for a hands to the face penalty. After a discussion among the officials, the foul was announced by the referee as “hands to the face on the receiving team number 15” and the Cougars was penalized half the distance to the goal from the spot of the foul and the ball was placed at its own 8-yard line.

After the next play was run, the referee informed Washington State that there was an error in application of the penalty. The penalty was on number 15 of the kicking team, not on the receiving team. The penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play and the ball should have been spotted at their 35-yard line.

The Pac-12 confirmed the penalty for the hands to the face was correct. But, the mechanics and communication was incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.

The referee has been suspended for one game for the breakdown in officiating mechanics and communication. The remaining members of the officiating crew have been downgraded.

The above statement and clarification is provided through the Pac-12 Conference’s new football officiating communications protocol. The protocol is designed to increase transparency and public comment around significant calls that meet certain criteria. The Pac-12 office is issuing public statements on calls that, in the Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating’s determination, meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Game-ending call or no-call impacting the result of the game
  • Call involving a significant error in officiating mechanics
  • Call involving an error in rules interpretation
  • Other extraordinary circumstances

California beat Washington State 33-20.


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