Pac-12 confirms officiating error in Arizona State-Michigan State game

SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference acknowledged an error in officiating during the final play of the Arizona State at Michigan State game on Saturday, September 14. Please see the following above video explanation of the play in which the error occurred.

With 0:11 remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball on Arizona State’s 24-yard line, Michigan State attempted a field goal that was good, but nullified due to a penalty for Illegal Substitution for having 12 players on the field.

After the five-yard penalty was assessed that moved the ball to the 29-yard line, Michigan State again attempted a field goal with 0:06 remaining that was no good as time expired. However, there should have been a foul called for leaping. An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.

In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.

NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations
Rule 9-1-11 – a, b
Leverage and Leaping
ARTICLE 11.
a. No defensive player, in an attempt to gain an advantage, may step, jump or stand on an opponent.
b. It is a foul if a defensive player moves forward and tries to block a kick or apparent kick on a field goal or try by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame of the body of an opponent. It is not a foul if the player was aligned in a stationary position within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.
 
The game officials will be held accountable for the error through the Conference’s game evaluation and disciplinary process.

The above statement and clarification is provided through the Pac-12 Conference's new football officiating communications protocol. The protocol is designed to increase transparency and public comment around significant calls that meet certain criteria. The Pac-12 office is issuing public statements on calls that, in the Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating’s determination, meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Game-ending call or no-call impacting the result of the game;
  • Call involving a significant error in officiating mechanics;
  • Call involving an error in rules interpretation; or
  • Other extraordinary circumstances

Any public statement will be issued no later than the end of the day following the game in which the call occurred.

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