Pac-10 commissioner suspends replay official; punishes referees

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- The Pac-10 Conference has suspended the replay official in last week's Washington-Oregon State game for failing to stop the game to conduct a review.

The officiating crew will also miss out on any chance to work a postseason game, the conference announced Wednesday.

Those same game officials were cleared of any problems resulting from four ejections and a slew of personal foul penalties late in the game, where Washington quarterback Jake Locker was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit.

"We regret that there was flagrant misconduct on the part of some players which led to four ejections from the game, that there was an injury to Washington quarterback Jake Locker which increased the emotions of the players and that the instant replay crew failed to stop the game to review the play at the goal line with just under three minutes to play," Pac-10 commissioner Thomas Hansen said in a news release. "On the play, it was ruled Oregon State's Yvenson Bernard fumbled. However, it appeared his knee had touched the ground before he lost the ball.

"We found that the officiating crew made earnest attempts to control the conduct of the players. Eight personal fouls were called and four players ejected during the game. We did not find any act which was not addressed by the officials which warranted additional action by the Conference.

"We do believe the instant replay officials did not perform properly on the Bernard fumble play. There was human error in that while reviewing the available replays the crew failed to notify the game officials to stop play before the ball was snapped for the next play. It was not the fault of the equipment. The game should have been stopped and the play reviewed. The members of the [instant replay] crew have been reprimanded."

After the game, Pac-10 director of instant replay Verle Sorgen was quoted as saying that Bernard's fumble "wasn't that egregious unless you are an Oregon State fan."

Hansen wasn't happy with that, either.

"In addition, I apologize for what I deem an inappropriate remark by Pac-10 Director of Instant Replay Verle Sorgen. He assures me he meant no disrespect to Oregon State or its team, coaches and fans. The failure to stop the game definitely was egregious."

Hansen said that the play in which Locker was hurt wasn't an intentional helmet-to-helmet hit.

"We believe the helmet-to-helmet contact on the hit on Locker was inadvertent," he said in the news release. "College football is played at a very high speed, and hard collisions such as this one result. Thankfully, Locker apparently did not suffer a serious injury. The sight of him walking back into Reser Stadium during the fourth quarter was most welcome.

"Helmet-to-helmet contact is a national point of emphasis, and we will continue to officiate accordingly."

The four players who were ejected will miss the first half of their next games, according to NCAA rules.

"This was not a game representative of the best of Pac-10 football, as evidenced by the fact there have been no ejections in a Pac-10 game previously this year," Hansen said. "We know that feeling is shared by the administrators and coaches at both institutions, and all involved will work to see such conduct does not happen in the future."