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Pac-12 admits officiating error in Washington State-Oregon game

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On Sunday, the Pac-12 Conference issued a release acknowledging an officiating error during the Oregon at Washington State football game on Saturday. A late rally gave the Ducks a 44-41 road win.

The statement read:

The Pac-12 Conference acknowledges that a mistake was made with the down indicator during the first half of the Oregon at Washington State game on Saturday, September 24.  The Instant Replay Official, in conjunction with the Command Center, acted appropriately to correct it in accordance with NCAA rules.
In the Oregon at Washington State game at 12:16 of the 2nd quarter, Washington State was in possession with 1st down at the 42-yard line. Washington State was called for an intentional grounding foul and the down indicator on the far side of the field changed immediately (too quickly) to 2nd down. When the Referee announced the loss of down penalty, the down indicator then changed to 3rd down (incorrectly). The next play was a running play up the middle and should have brought up 3rd down. The down indicator changed to 4th down (incorrectly) and Washington State punted on that down.

By rule:

5-2-9 (exception), Page FR 66
Rule Decisions Final
ARTICLE 9. No rule decision may be changed after the ball is next legally
snapped, legally free-kicked or the second or fourth periods have ended (Rules
3-2-1-a, 3-3-4-e-2 and 11-1). (Exception: The number of a down may be
corrected any time within that series of downs or before the ball is legally next
put in play after that series.)

12-3-6-e, Replay Case Book Page 9
Situations that may be addressed by the replay official:
e. Correcting the number of a down.
1. This includes the result of a penalty enforcement that includes an
automatic first down or loss of down.
2. The correction may be made at any time within that series of downs or
before the ball is legally put in play after that series.

The Instant Replay Official, in conjunction with the Command Center, stopped the game to review the down situation after the punt and before Oregon snapped the ball for a new series. With video evidence of the down box indicator changing incorrectly, the officials ruled that 3rd down should be replayed at the previous spot.

At no point in time did the replay booth lose communication with the Referee on the field or the Command Center in San Francisco. Ultimately, the correct ruling was reached after review.

The conference is reviewing the incident and the Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating will determine if any discipline is warranted. The officiating protocols were followed properly and this is an instance of human error.

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