Pac-12 acknowledges mechanics error in Washington State-California game

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SAN FRANCISCO The Pac-12 Conference acknowledged an error in officiating during the third quarter of the Washington State at California game on Saturday, November 9.

With 10:14 remaining in the third quarter, Washington State received the kick off and returned it to the 50-yard line. The Referee threw a flag on the play for a hands to the face penalty. After a crew discussion, the foul was announced by the Referee as “hands to the face on the receiving team number 15” and Washington State was penalized half the distance to the goal from the spot of the foul and the ball was placed at its own 8-yard line.

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 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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