The Big 12 has fined Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard $25,000 and publicly reprimands him after his comments on the conference’s officiating after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State.
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Before the official announcement from the Big 12, Pollard said that he talked to conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby and there wouldn’t be an apology letter coming. Bowlsby supported the ruling.
"Pollard would not be quoted, but acknowledged being told by conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby that replay officials were correct in reversing a call on the field that ruled Desmond Roland was stopped short of the end zone on the first half’s final play.According to Bowlsby, replay officials had enough evidence to overturn the call."
Bowlsby called Pollard’s statements “irresponsible and completely baseless” in the Big 12 statement released today.
"To imply that games are called unfairly to negatively impact a program is irresponsible and completely baseless. Accordingly, the seriousness of this violation warrants a public reprimand and a financial penalty."
Pollard both apologized and acknowledged what he meant about the “lone vote” in his statement on Saturday.
"Although on Saturday I felt the need to defend our players and our institution, Dr. Leath and I recognize that our decision to have me do so publicly was in violation of the conference’s sportsmanship guidelines and we accept the Commissioner’s punishment. Furthermore, I apologize for implying that Iowa State University’s vote against the addition of an eighth official at a conference meeting in 2013 impacted game officiating. It was inappropriate for me to do so."
The $25,000 fine is the largest in Big 12 history.
Breaking the play down
For those that don’t know the official ruling of the play before the end of the first half, it was that Oklahoma State running back Desmond Roland was down before crossing the plane. That would have given Iowa State a 6-6 tie at half.
Thanks to Chris Ross, writer at SB Nation’s Oklahoma State website “Cowboys Ride For Free,” he posted a video of the play that shows two really good angles of Roland’s run.
Look at where the ball is at on the second angle. It looks pretty doubtful that the ball ever crosses the front of that white paint. On the third angle, it looks a little bit closer, but we lose where that white line exactly starts because a Cowboy player is on the ground.
Clearly, it’s not indisputable that Roland put the ball over the line.
The NCAA’s official replay rule
Back in 2006, the NCAA Football Rules Comittee created this rule when the Replay Official interrupts a game to look at a play.
"Any reversal of the on-field ruling, which can only result from indisputable video evidence, would have a direct, competitive impact on the game."
Based on the rules, the officials did not do their job correctly and overturned a play that was clearly disputable. I just disputed it a minute ago with video evidence that apparently was indisputable.
Sep 27, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads walks the sidelines against the Baylor Bears at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Because Pollard went out and voiced his strong opinion to the public, the Big 12 was not going to issue an apology. They didn’t have to anymore because they could just point to Pollard for violating the Big 12 Conference Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship. Pollard knew that, and a forced apology was added to the statement.
Here’s where fans can get upset. Bowlsby actually says in his statement that Pollard’s comments were “irresponsible and completely baseless.” Again, Iowa State can point to four apology letters in the last two years, not to mention calls like at the end of the Texas game last year and this one that happened on Saturday.
No one is saying the Big 12 is out to get Iowa State. That’s asinine. But the refs have consistently screwed up in a number of key moments in Cyclone games, and ISU ended up on the short end of the stick. That’s not irresponsible to say. That’s not completely baseless to say. In fact, that’s irresponsible on the refs that botched the situation and penalties should be given out for not following the rules.
Also, no Iowa State fan should say that the play itself cost the Cyclones the game. Of course it didn’t. Yes, in a game that thrives a lot on momentum, the call played a huge role in the outcome. There’s a big difference between the two, and that’s what Cyclone fans are more upset about. Any blogger, national or local talking head, media pundit, etc., that’s telling Iowa State and its fans to get over it aren’t even paying attention to what we’re upset about.
Clearly, Bowlsby doesn’t get it either. Instead of doing the right thing and reprimanding, suspending, or firing the officials that botched the call, he smacks Pollard in the face and disavows any wrongdoing that happened on Saturday. That’s probably the most “irresponsible” part about all of this.