A college football referee has been suspended for one game following his costly mistake in a Pac-12 conference game on Saturday, the league announced tonight.
The Pac-12 has suspended the official, who worked Saturday’s Washington State vs. California game, for what’s being called a “mechanics error.”
The mistake occurred early in the third quarter, when Cal committed an illegal hands to the face penalty on a kickoff attempt. Washington State returned the kickoff to midfield, meaning the ball should’ve been spotted at Cal’s 35-yard line following the 15-yard penalty. Instead, the officials mistakenly attributed the penalty to Washington State.
The penalty was enforced at the “spot of the foul,” which gave Washington State the ball at their own 8-yard line. That’s a field position difference of 57 yards.
The Pac-12 has released a statement on the situation:
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 the kicking team number 15, not the receiving team, and the penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play with the ball spotted at California’s 35-yard line.
The Conference confirmed the penalty for hands to the face was correct. However, the mechanics and communication were incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.
The Referee has subsequently been suspended for one game for the breakdown in officiating mechanics and communication. The remaining members of the officiating crew have been downgraded.
The Pac-12 has instituted a new system this season in which it attempts to be more transparent with its officiating process. This is part of that.
Cal ended up beating Washington State, 33-20.