The Pac-10 has quickly taken action for a blown call in Saturday's Virginia-USC game. Commissioner Larry Scott announced that the crew has been reprimanded, and also will be removed from a future game assignment.
The officials misapplied rules for blocking below the waist on a Virginia fake punt in the second quarter. According to the playing rules, blocking below the waist anywhere on the field by either team is illegal if the offense is lined up in a scrimmage kick formation, unless a kick is not made. (In that event, blocking rules revert to normal.)
"The officials recognized the mistake after the fact, and apologized to the Virginia coaching staff. We know mistakes are made in games, but we will not tolerate our officials misinterpreting the rules," Scott said. "We believe the reprimand and removal from a future assignment are appropriate."
In penalizing the entire crew, even though the call was not the responsibility of all seven officials, the conference also sent the message that in addition to knowing the rules, it is also the responsibility of all members of the crew to be aware of the rules, and speak up in the event an error is made.
There has been a history in recent years of problems in a number of games with officiating errors, with seemingly little being done about it. Scott, in making the public statement, has sent a message that yet another aspect of how the conference is run has changed.