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Pac-10 Suspends Official for Missing Obvious Facemasking Call

Oct 27, 2009 – 5:30 AM
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Michael David Smith

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The Pac-10 has suspended one of its officials for failing to throw a flag on a facemasking penalty committed by USC safety Taylor Mays on Oregon State receiver James Rodgers, the latest in a long line of high-profile missed calls by college football officials this year.

"We have taken this action in light of the blatant and dangerous nature of the missed call," Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "We have full confidence in our highly trained and qualified staff of football officials, but they, like the coaches and players, are accountable and must meet the high expectations placed upon them."

Although Mays obviously should have been flagged, it's surprising that the Pac-10 is reacting so harshly as to suspend the official (who hasn't been named publicly). Missed calls happen every Saturday, and suspensions of officials are rare.

But this official had the misfortune of missing a call on a big play during a game that was broadcast on network television, and of having his missed call replayed several times while the announcers questioned what the official was thinking. That kind of bad publicity forced the conference to act, just as bad publicity about missed calls in this season's Florida-Arkansas game forced the SEC to suspend the officiating crew that worked the game.

Mays is a hard hitter who has been called for a number of personal foul penalties. But he's also one of the best defensive players in the country, and he said it was important to him that people know he's not a dirty player.

"I didn't mean to rip the dude's helmet off," Mays told the Los Angeles Times. "Right after it happened, I got up and said, 'Hey, I wasn't trying to be dirty.' ...That's how I understand the game is to be played -- it's physical," Mays said. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody. I'm just trying to hit somebody as hard as I can."

And the Pac-10 is just trying to crack down on a problem that is plaguing college football.

Video via The Wiz of Odds
Filed under: Sports