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Pac-12 issues statement about controversial call in ASU-Oregon game

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 19:35:26-05

Arizona State fans were steaming after the Sun Devils' 31-29 loss at Oregon on Saturday night due to a referee's decision that contributed to the loss and hurt ASU's chances to win the Pac-12 South division.

Three days after the game, the Pac-12 issued a statement regarding the "misreporting" about the play in question.

The visiting Sun Devils scored a touchdown with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game to cut Oregon's lead to 31-29. The Devils went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, and on that attempt, quarterback Manny Wilkins' pass was caught by wide receiver Frank Darby in the back of the end zone -- but Darby's foot was ruled to be out of bounds, making the pass incomplete.

Replays showed Darby's foot might have, in fact, been in bounds. But officials appeared to not even take time to review the play, and the Devils went on to lose by a two-point margin. The loss ended ASU's hopes of winning the Pac-12 South, which it would have done with a win over Oregon plus a victory over Arizona in Saturday's Territorial Cup contest in Tucson.

On Tuesday, the Pac-12 issued a statement noting that the play was, in fact, reviewed, and replay angles determined that a lengthier review of the play was not required.

Here is the Pac-12's complete statement:

In response to media inquiries and misreporting that the two-point conversion in the Arizona State-Oregon game was not reviewed, the Pac-12 wanted to clarify that the play in question was in fact reviewed, as well as to clarify certain aspects of the officiating review process.

Just because an on-field official does not signal a stoppage for an instant replay that does not mean that the play has not been reviewed. During the course of a game, all plays that are reviewable by rule are reviewed by in-stadium replay officials and Centralized Replay in the conference office. Should the replay official, in communication with Centralized Replay, determine that there is not enough evidence to overturn a call before the next play, then they will not buzz the on-field official to stop for review.

In the case of the Arizona State-Oregon game, because it was a two-point conversion and immediately before kickoff, the replay crew had over one minute to watch this play from multiple angles (in HD) and they concluded that the play would have stood as called on the field, which is why they did not buzz down for stoppage to the game. 

By the NCAA Player Rules, the instant replay process operates under the fundamental assumption that the ruling on the field is correct. The replay official may reverse a ruling if and only if the video evidence convinces him beyond all doubt that the ruling was incorrect. Without such indisputable video evidence, the replay official must allow the ruling to stand.

In regard to the two-point conversion attempt by Arizona State, when the play was over, the replay officials immediately looked at all angles provided by the television feed and determined there was not enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.