LSU AD Bertman criticizes SEC for defending officiating

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU athletic director Skip Bertman
sharply criticized the officiating in last Saturday's game at
Auburn as well as the Southeastern Conference's subsequent backing
of the officials' decisions on two key calls.

"The SEC Office has stood by the officials' calls, and we
respectfully but strongly disagree," Bertman said in a statement
released by LSU on Tuesday. "We strive for excellence every day in
LSU athletics, and we expect the same level of excellence from the
officials that are assigned to us by the SEC."

Late in the game, Auburn defensive back Zach Gilbert was flagged
for interfering with receiver Early Doucet deep in its own
territory in Auburn's 7-3 win over then-No. 6 LSU. The flag was
waved off because officials deemed that Eric Brock's tip of the
ball made it uncatchable.

Another controversial fourth-quarter call went Auburn's way when
LSU's interception on third-and-29 was negated because Daniel Francis was penalized for interference on receiver Courtney Taylor,
giving Auburn an automatic first down.

That pass was ruled a catchable ball, and SEC media relations
director Charles Bloom said that call also was correct.

The victory helped Auburn climb from No. 3 to No. 2 The AP Top
25 poll, while LSU fell to No. 10.

LSU coach Les Miles complained after the game about both calls.

"There were obviously a number of calls by SEC officials in our
game against Auburn that had a dramatic impact on the game,"
Bertman said. "Coach Miles went through the proper procedure of
addressing these calls with the SEC Office and I appreciate the
manner in which he has expressed his dissatisfaction with the
officials' decisions."