Pac-12 confirms rulings on field at end of game were correct in California-Ole Miss game

SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference confirmed that the on-field game officials ruled correctly during the final two plays in the California-Ole Miss game Saturday, September 21 that Ole Miss did not score a touchdown and there was no irrefutable video evidence to reverse those calls by replay. However, the Conference would have supported play being stopped by Instant Replay for further review to confirm the on-field call of the second to last play of the game. Please see the video explanation above of the final two plays.

With 0:17 remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball on California’s three-yard line, Ole Miss completed a third down pass near the goal line. The Head Line Judge ruled that the ball did not cross the plane of the goal line. At 0:10, the Side Judge quickly gathers the ball and provides it to the Umpire to be spotted inside the one-yard line for the next snap. At 0:04 remaining, and with no timeouts to stop the clock, Ole Miss gathers over the ball and snaps it at 0:02. The fourth down play was ruled short of the goal line as time expired.

The final play was reviewed by Instant Replay where it was determined there was not a touchdown and the ruling on the field would stand.

Prior to the final play of the game, Instant Replay observed replay video from a camera angle down the goal line and determined that there was no irrefutable video evidence that there was a touchdown on the third down reception. However, the Conference acknowledged that Instant Replay should have used better judgement to stop play for a formal review of the third down play. Had there been a formal review, and by using all available broadcast video, there was no irrefutable video evidence that the ruling short of the goal line on the pass play could be overturned to a touchdown and the call on the field of no touchdown would have stood.

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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