There, there, now. The SEC’s gonna make it all better.

What a crock.

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Athletic Director Greg McGarity have had extensive conversations with SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw and other league administrators about the targeting calls that went against the Bulldogs in this past Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. We won’t likely ever know what came from those discussions, but you can bet something did.

Would you bet on something you’ll never see?

To be clear, the crew working the Georgia-Vanderbilt game blew at least one call. But Shaw through an SEC spokesman declined comment to the AJC on Monday and the league office refused to disclose whether there might be any discipline forthcoming as a result of those reviews.

“Steve doesn’t talk about individual calls,” said Herb Vincent, the SEC’s associate commissioner for communications. “He has a conversation with all the officials after the games. He’ll have discussions with the coach about anything he sees that may be of concern. But those conversations are never public. All that stuff is dealt with in private.”

Yes, why should there be any open accountability?  It’s not like anybody saw what happened Saturday… well, except for everyone who saw what happened.

It really amazes me the lengths to which the conference goes to protect the delicate fee-fees of its officiating crews.  The SEC is more than happy, as is the case with its peers, to chastise a coach publicly for criticizing poor work from referees, but heaven forbid a public reprimand from the conference when one of its employees blows a call. (Or two.)  And remember, this wasn’t your ordinary in the heat of the moment boo-boo.  This one had legs.

Obviously, Saturday’s crew butchered the call on Ramik Wilson. The Georgia linebacker did everything as he had been taught when he hit receiver Jonathan Krause shoulder to chest and separated him from the ball on a fourth-and-four in the fourth quarter.  Wilson’s ejection was overturned by replay but the 15-yard penalty stood – there is currently no provision to reverse that — and Vanderbilt retained possession and went on to score a touchdown rather than turning over the ball on downs.

If you’ve looked at replays, you’ll notice that the umpire Tom Quick, who was standing right in front of the play and saw the whole thing unfold, did not throw a flag. He signaled for an incomplete pass. The official that did throw a flag – late in fact — was field judge Michael Williams. Williams was positioned across the field, a significant distance from the play, and in front of the Vanderbilt bench.

Has anyone in the SEC office considered the possibility that official, public criticism of a decision like that might actually have the effect of curbing some of the more egregious flag throwing?  Obviously, not seriously.  But the quiet chats and threats of losing out on choice bowl assignments aren’t doing much to rein these guys in from taking matters into their own hands when they feel like it.  Maybe a little open shame would be a good thing.

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49 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

49 responses to “There, there, now. The SEC’s gonna make it all better.

  1. From the conference of Marc Curles, Al Ford, Penn Wagers, Rogers Redding, et al, I wait anxiously for the SEC to do something about playing while Georgia. SEC officiating – the blind leading the blind for over 75 years

  2. mwo

    Absolutely pathetic. Nothing will happen , and UGA will continue to get screwed on penalties. I’m done!

  3. “It really amazes me the lengths to which the conference goes to protect the delicate fee-fees of its officiating crews.”

    GATA Senator!

  4. Spence

    How can anyone not believe that these refs are beyond incompetent? This is obvious corruption, it’s rampant in officiating, and for some reason UGA is usually on the shitty end of it. The first ref was going to flag Vandy for holding then threw Drew out of the game. Then there’s the field judge who made the horrible call when the umpire saw it cleanly.

    It’s dirty, and it will never stop.

    • and nobody ever seems to want to follow the money…gotta be there somewhere in this massive dumpster fire

      • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/soccer-match-fixing-scandal_n_2671282.html

        “Europol, the European Union’s police body, announced last week that it had found 680 “suspicious” games worldwide since 2008, including 380 in Europe.”

        Thank God in America there’s no criminal influence or gambling influence that could corrupt an amateur sport like college football. I’m sure the flag on AJ wasn’t the result of any corruption either.

        I may take up watching professional wrestling because at least I know where the refs stand.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          +1. The feds caught an NBA ref fixing games about 5 years ago and sent him to the slammer. You can’t convince me that some of the flagrant BS calls we’ve seen from SEC refs the past few years were not on purpose and possibly money-motivated (i.e. refs betting on games, refs being paid by gamblers/mob, etc.). This screams for an investigation from an entity with subpoena power and a grand jury. The feds would be the best option. I actually wrote to the Clarke County DA (since it happened in Athens he would have jurisdiction) and asked him to investigate the AJ Green fiasco–and never got a reply.

          • Nice.

            Sadly, I don’t think any Athens-related group will do anything to ever hurt the cash cow we all pray to. You’ll have to go higher, and I still severely doubt anyone will ever listen.

  5. Brandon

    As the Senator alluded to yesterday, this is engine that is driving this train:
    “Defendants National Collegiate Athletic Association and Southeastern Conference, Commissioner ______________, President __________, were well aware of the real and imminent threat to the safety of its student athletes caused by vicious and violent plays that had routinely become a part of the game, while Defendants purported to enact “rules” to protect student athletes from such plays they willfully inflicted severe punishments on officials who erred on the side of caution in protecting players from the consequences of such plays which created a chilling effect in the enforcement of these player safety rules, as a result Plaintiff _________, was severely injured suffering real and permanent physical and mental injury, lost wages, and diminishment of earning capacity, further such conduct by the Defendants amounts to such a conscious disregard for the safety of its student athletes to amount to a specific intent to cause harm or a reckless indifference as to the consequences of their actions raising the spectre for the award of punitive damages, wherefore…”

    • I get the c.y.a. part. But, upon review, if it wasn’t targeting, then why let the penalty stand? Take steps to curb the head shots, but when it isn’t a head shot, let it go. If all violent hits from now on will be flagged – whether or not targeting took place – then the penalty enforcement structure is broken.

      I don’t blame the officials on this. It is a bad rule that is receiving extra emphasis from the league office (because of the cya) that these officials are tasked with enforcing. “When in doubt, throw a flag” is contrary to everything else an official knows. He is trained to do the opposite for every other call on the field. But for this one, if he isn’t sure targeting didn’t happen, then he’s supposed to throw a flag. That is nonsensical.

      Headshots are different than incidental contact to the head, and should be handled differently. It is more than obvious that the officials cannot do that in real time. I am all for getting rid of actual head shots where a player intentionally spears another player in the head with the crown of his helmet. That is dirty, and the hitter should be punished. If a player hits you shoulder to chest, and the side of the hitter’s head makes incidental contact with the hittee’s head, that’s not dirty, and the play should not be penalized. If you watch Ogletree’s hit on McCarron in last year’s championship game, Ogletree goes in shoulder first, but the side of Ogletree’s helmet hits McCarron’s facemask (barely). Ogletree would have been ejected for targeting if that happened this year. That is bullshit. No one has ever intentionally hit someone else with the side of their head. Quinton Dial’s hit is a little more questionable because of the way the crown of his helmet catches Murray in the chin. But, I believe he was still going in shoulder first. But the point is that catching this in real time is impossible.

      If you want to curb headshots, suspend the player for the next game with a formal appeal process. Don’t eject him on the spot with no method for appeal except for some dude in a booth that – I kid you not – has to have indisputable video evidence the penalty was NOT committed to overturn the ejection. That’s not fair to anyone involved. It is the single biggest fuckup of a rule that anyone in sports has ever created.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Every man, woman, and child in the SEC viewing area should know the name, home address, and phone number of Michael Williams.

    • AusDawg85

      This sentiment…serious or not…is exactly why they do (and must) keep the disciplining and review of referee conduct private. You put this stuff out in public, you’ll get more than “shame” from football fans, bettors and other interested parties. They’ve killed trees in Auburn…guess what the next step would be.

  7. I wonder if we will ever see the officials do their huddle after a targeting call, discuss it, realize whoever threw the flag was wrong, and just pick up the flag? I’ve never officiated football but I’ve ref’d a lot of soccer games and can vouch for the fact that being closer doesn’t always mean you have the better view, depending on the positioning of the players involved as well as other players on the field that could block a certain angle of view. But in this case, it’s beyond clear from the replays that the umpire had hands down the best view on the field, and none of the other officials thought it was targeting either or you would have seen multiple flags come in from different directions. That was one of those where the white hat should have consulted everyone, the umpire should have stood his ground based on his proximity and clear view of the play, and the flag should have been waved off.

    But then, I guess that would defy the “when in doubt” clause, so I’m sure we won’t ever see that happen. At least not the first couple of years that this rule is in effect.

    • 69Dawg

      That’s what should have happened but as the Senator has said a group discussion and reversal would have hurt the Back Judge’s feelings and might have caused him to not call anymore fouls. None of these refs are going to pickup a flag unless the official making the call agrees to it. This same thing ended up getting Curle’s crew suspended after the Arky UF game a few years ago. And if you don’t think ref’s have long institutional memory we are still screwed by the SEC suspending Ford’s crew for Jasper’s non-fumble fumble. Penn is either the most vindictive SOB I’ve ever seen or he is total incompetent. As long as the SEC covers their ref’s butts there is no reason to change the way you call the game.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        “…we are still (being) screwed by the SEC suspending Ford’s crew for Jasper’s non-fumble fumble.” THIS!!! This is where the petty revenge-taking started. Bob Ford and his crew blew the fumble call, UGA AD Vince Dooley raised holy hell with the SEC office and Ford’s crew got suspended for the post season. That pissed them off and all the other SEC game officials–at Georgia. Too many people I know have spotted the inconsistent and one-sided penalties in UGA games for it to be imaginary. Ford himself then became a replay ref (I think this incident led the SEC to want him off the field). BTW, Ford has screwed UGA on replays since he got that gig. I’m betting some of the refs in the Vandy game were on that Ford crew. Matt Moore, perhaps? How about Field Judge Michael Williams? The SEC needs to clean these guys out of the conference. Someone also needs to investigate these refs.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          P.S. I looked it up. None of the refs from the Vandy game were on Al Ford’s crew in the ’99 UGA-Tech game. I still say the SEC needs to clean Matt Moore and Michael Williams out of the conference, though.

  8. Bulldog Joe

    Good coaching on Vanderbilt’s part. Working the refs is a skill as old as the game itself.

    • A little public criticism might make the refs a little more deaf to being worked on the sidelines.

    • Russ

      Richt worked them as hard as I can remember and it made no difference to us. Blatant offensive PI on their bomb to midfield right in front of Richt and the ref. Everyone saw it except the ref.

      • mwo

        Same with the Missouri game, their receivers hand checked, pushed off, and basically mugged our DBs all day, especially on the late game halfback pass for a TD. Not a single call for offensive interference. UGA has been getting screwed by these clowns for years. I am sick of it!

  9. uglydawg

    If these idiots are so concerned with player injury…why don’t they have the same stipulation (ejection) for face-masking? There’s far more potential for a broken neck..paralisis, death, etc. from having your head jerked around while running full speed. This is bullshit plain and simple. When a ref blows a call he should have to go to the next home game for the offended team, stand at the fifty yard line and explain why he did it. If he can screw a team in front of 90 K people and a national TV audience he can apologizein the same setting.

  10. Russ

    Not many games I blame on the refs but this is definitely one. On the same level as thee AJ Green fiasco and almost as bad as Al Ford’s call on Sanks. Just terrible officiating and the refs would have to be idiots to think otherwise.

  11. BMan

    If the officials and review officials are so concerned about player safety, when they eject a player for targeting, they should insist on automatically removing the player that was allegedly targeted. Wouldn’t want the player trying to play through a concussion. I mean, surely Vandy’s QB suffered immensely after the vicious hit that Ray Drew put on him, right?

    • +100
      I just drafted a Complaint to file based upon your new legal theory. Now if only I can find a Plaintiff or two…

    • Brandon

      I think they should toss the QB’s who put receivers in defenseless positions as well, maybe OL’s and RB’s who miss blocks causing the quarterback to be in a defenseless position, let’s get the position coaches out of there too while we’re at it, let’s go full monty and get everybody responsible that’ll show’em.

  12. Beer Money

    Does anybody else find it very suspicious that in 5 SEC games Saturday, all 5 of the preseason higher-ranked teams lost to those considered mediocre (Missouri, Auburn, Ole Miss) to awful (Tennessee, Vandy). All on the same day no less. Granted, by the week of the game, I gave Florida about a 35% chance of beating Missouri and about the same for Vandy beating us and Auburn beating A&M. I gave no chance to Tennessee or Ole Miss. Most of these games had questionable officiating calls with (what appears to be) the targeting/non-targeting being the hottest topic.

    Imagine if you had walked into the Caesar’s Palace sports book in mid-August and placed a $100 wager on a 5-team parlay with Missouri, Auburn, Vandy, Ole Miss, and Tennessee ALL winning straight up last Saturday? What do you think the payout would have been? And maybe there were a few that did this and were in the referees ears and pockets? Wouldn’t be surprised at all. Days like Saturday (in the same conference) do not happen in most seasons. Something is up. Thoughts?

  13. 69Dawg

    The SEC is a Billion dollar league with 25 cent officials. I actually thought Steve Shaw was the only decent official they had but he has become the typical company man and has lost his credibility.

  14. Will Trane

    Did the SEC game officials have a meeting prior to the beginning of the season on each member’s campus to go over the rules and officiating? I mean one with film from prior year’s games on calls, what they will look for in a calls, what they expect from team captains and coaches, what they expect from ADs. I doubt if they did.

  15. Will Trane

    October 19, 2013 was national collegiate football officiating day for the targeting penalty. SEC East led the way. Notice on the teams that received the calls, all lost. Targeting is a flawed complicated call. Sorta like a lot of the stuff at the national level of our Federal government. More rules means moreluy someone suffers.

  16. danny

    It is a shame that sec games are no longer determined on the field but by the officials and replay booth.The SEC office needs a good house cleaning!

  17. Spike

    Anybody know how to contact their office?

  18. Anyone else find it sadly ironic that the 15 yard penalty that cannot be reversed even though it had been overturned nonsense that the Senator has been harping on since the preseason comes up and bites the Dawgs in the ass? Shoot, I lean toward kicking Ramik out and reversing the 15 yard penalty. At least then we could petition and level heads could prevail. But no, the decision made by a ref with a Vandy coach in his ear is only partly reversible.

  19. Macallanlover

    There are some very good comments above, the “targeting” rule is a fiasco that reached new levels of absurdity and absolutely changed/determined the outcome of games. That is sad because it was an off-season committee that put this in play and the new implementation guidelines that have made it the butt of jokes all summer and fall. It could have been modified before, and during, the season but the egos of those involved at the NCAA level has chosen to make everyone, and the game, suffer. Shaw and the SEC office are wrong to not take the many complaints being leveled at officials seriously.

    We all have too much invested, financially and emotionally, to not get a better answer than has been given to the significant miscalls and then lack of intervention from the booth when it is available. I wish all those who continue down the conspiracy path would realize how they undermine the good points they make in their comments. The problem is not “targeting” specific schools, it is 1) incompetency of some officials, 2) lack of manning up to mistakes when they are made, 3) lack of accountability when mistakes continue to be made and, 4) lack of transparency about how discussions on major reviews went down. It is the fan that ultimately pays for the fancy offices and the big salaries of all involved in CFB and they are dickering with the credibility the game needs to make it worth our time.

    • Minnesota Dawg

      Good comment. Within number 1), I do think that there is a particularly galling type of “incompetency” that is a product of sideline influence, pressuring, a previous play or incident, or perhaps even a particular personal grudge or bias. Certainly, this distinction isn’t always the easiest to make, but some calls seem more calculated than others–like a call made 30 yards away from the play, from the official on the Vandy sideline?

      Officials that are more susceptible to “mistakes” in these situations really should be called out and hammered by the conference and fellow officials, frankly. Most fans appreciate and accept that there will always be honest mistakes that occur when human officials are involved, but the credibility of the game really gets damaged when egregious miscalls seem to result from other factors, which I believe they do.

      • Macallanlover

        I agree. nearly all fans will accept the occasional missed call because the speed of the game and positioning of officials make it impossible to not blow a few judgment calls. It is less forgivable when the replay booth misses the calls (as they did with Drew), or when the rules themselves are indefensible and undermine the game. Giving instructions to throw a flag when in doubt is just bad form, and then allowing a review but which does not correct the overly sensitive bad call makes it all the more illogical.

        Do you think the reason the Drew call was not overturned was due to it being called by the head official and not just a member of the crew? They knew it wasn’t a “targeting” hit. The explanation by the booth review official to Brando was they would have overturned if Drew had not been so aggressive against the QB, does that mean he upheld it because he felt there was a roughing the passer call that was missed, in his judgment? I think both were the reason, and neither justifies his decision.

        • MinnesotaDawg

          Yeah, I’d agree with your reasoning and opinion. Combination of reluctance to overturn a judgement call by the head official and relying on the vague and apparent meaningless language of the rule to support the call. If a replay official takes this deferential approach, he completely undermines the purpose of reviewing this call at all–unless there is an acknowledgment that he is limited to reviewing whether the targeted player was or wasn’t touched on or above his shoulders. And, as you point out, the lameness of such a review makes the “flag it if in doubt” policy all the more ludicrous.

          It is a bad rule b/c apparently there no consensus of what is illegal. The vagueness of the rule’s language reminds me of bad obscenity laws, and the famous “I know it when I see it.” Problem is…the only person that seemed to think Drew’s hit should have been a targeting penalty was the only one that counted.

  20. sniffer

    With all the emphasis on safety and the potential litigation regarding league sanctioned violence, how in the world does the NHL exist and survive?

    Not that I care, just asking…

  21. Tsdawg

    Te Wilson call was so bad you almost wonder if Williams got some under the table compensation for it.

    And Quick not overruling is as bad as the call itself, he was within 5 yards looking ded on