SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Pac-12 athletic directors endorsed changes Wednesday to the conference’s replay review system for football games, including developing a manual with clear protocols and procedures, after a league executive influenced a potential targeting call during a game last month.
Commissioner Larry Scott ordered an internal review of the centralized replay system this month after Yahoo Sports! reported a replay official complained about a “third party” overruling officials at the stadium and at the review center during the Washington State-Southern California game Sept. 21.
The athletic directors released a joint statement, saying the conference office acknowledged mistakes were made in the replay process during the game.
“The Conference office has taken action with the personnel involved with the game and have made important changes to the replay process and protocol,” the athletic director said. “These revisions have been presented to the Athletic Directors and we support the changes that have been implemented. Moving forward, we have confidence in the integrity of our process and the personnel charged with monitoring the process.”
The third party was Woodie Dixon, the Pac-12’s general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs. He also oversees football administration. The conference said Wednesday it was a mistake for Dixon to call into the replay center during that Friday night game between Washington State and USC. The conference also said the review found Dixon’s actions to be an isolated incident.
“It is clear that a mistake was made and that action needed to be taken, as nothing is more important than the safety of our student-athletes and the integrity of our competition,” Scott said in a statement. “We have been leaders in both of these essential areas. We are determined to learn from this episode and strengthen our officiating processes as a result.”
The review recommendations to be implemented are:
– Creating a protocol that clearly states the instant replay supervisor in the San Francisco centralized replay facility has final decision-making authority. No administrator, such as Dixon, shall play any role in the deliberations.
– The development of a comprehensive manual governing all aspects of instant replay officiating, including detailed protocols and procedures.
– Disciplinary measures imposed on certain Pac-12 personnel responsible for the inadequate procedures and involved in the inappropriate influencing of the replay official’s decision in the USC vs. Washington State game.
The Pac-12 declined to specify who was being disciplined and how.