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Sprints Is Hoping the SEC Won't Suspend It Along With the Officials // 10.22.09

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Refgate leads to suspension for the crew
Slive on what has to be an almost unprecedented action, at least publicly.

"I have taken this action because there must be accountability in our officiating program. Our institutions expect the highest level of officiating in all of our sports and it is the duty of the conference office to uphold that expectation."

Really? The highest level of officiating? Baby steps.

Marc Curles is, indeed, 'beating [himself] up' about the personal foul call
On the call:

"Where I made the mistake is I didn't see the whole thing. I didn't see how it developed. I saw out of the corner of my eye what I thought was a foul. I can't think something is a foul. I got to know it is. And that was my mistake. And I know better than that. What makes me mad at myself is that I know better than to call something if I didn't see the whole thing. And I've been sick about it ever since, quite frankly."

"I've just been thinking about it, replaying it and beating [myself] up over the call. I guess where our true character is found is in how we handle it and what we do the next time."

Curles basically admits that some of the flack he's taken has been justified. Then there's this:

"I have gotten 50 or 60 e-mails just in the last two to three days," he says. "At work. I had about a half-dozen voice messages on my home phone when I got home Sunday. I have gotten phone calls [at work]. People are passionate about their teams, and I understand that. We kind of know what we are getting into when we do this. But some of things they say -- think about what you are saying. Saying I should be investigated for gambling. Saying I should be ashamed of myself. Saying the conference is pulling the strings."

Now, I'm sympathetic. The guys do make mistakes, and they deserve all the criticism that comes their way when they make a call as atrocious as the personal foul that Curles admits getting wrong. But calling someone at home or at work and e-mailing them to berate them for the call is not cool.

Dr. Saturday says it was inevitable
The SEC boxed itself in by admitting the calls were bogus.

Maybe if the league hadn't decided to single out their mistakes from every other sketchy call a conference official made on those weekends, they could have gotten away with a private rebuke, possibly even a quiet suspension. Once it opted for public accountability, though, it had no choice to drop the hammer for all to see.

I maintain that the difference between this case and other cases of bad officiating was that the same crew made absolutely awful calls in two key football games. This weren't run of the mill mistakes by officials; these were some of the worst calls I've ever seen in critical situations. Maybe a responses that's somewhat out of the ordinary was justified.

Some want more
Dawgnoxious indicates that this should just be the beginning.

In reality, the suspended crew is not much worse than any of the SEC's other crews. The suspended crew had the bad judgment to screw up royally in two high profile games, but plenty of non-outcome determinative but equally poor calls occur in any given game officiated by SEC refs. I submit Penn Wagers and his band of merry men are equally capable of such underachievement. ...

Hopefully this is the first of several steps the SEC will take to address the horrific quality of conference officiating.

I wouldn't count on it. Once the storm has past, Slive and Co. will likely go back to boasting about revenues and NFL rosters and forget that whole "officiating" thing.

Orson has a suggested replacement
But, really, does the SEC need to borrow anything from the ACC?


Meanwhile, in the other SEC rules-related scandal, Nick Saban had an initial response to Steve Spurrier's allegation -- that Bama used tape to mark its kicks -- that most of us learned doesn't work when we were in kindergarten: Wah! Everbody's doing it!

We've done some research on it, and over half the teams in the league do something with it. They put a piece there or whatever it is so the kicker knows where the ball's going to be spotted. We even saw verification where last year South Carolina's kicker did it. This is not something that is really unusual for people to do.

Not so, says former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, most recently seen playing the role of the entire offense for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The penalty for using "any device or material used to mark the spot of a scrimmage place kick" is 5 yards for an illegal kick. ...

Ex-USC kicker Ryan Succop said he never used tape to mark a kick. Holder Stephen Flint said he would find a mark in the grass and point to it for Succop, which sounds a lot different than pulling a piece of tape out of your pants and putting it on the turf.

"We’d go out there and there’d be something like that," said Flint, pointing to a small spot in the grass. "And I’d just put my finger there. Nothing like a piece of tape."

My first instinct on this one is to go with Person, and not just because I'm a shameless South Carolina homer. I'm not sure that pointing to a spot in the grass is a "device or material used to mark the spot of a scrimmage place kick." But I'm not an expert on such things, and I can see how a case can be made that grass is "material." I certainly think some sort of mud pile or something would count. But grass that's already there?

In any case, Spurrier shot back and then Saban shot back again.


"If we did that last year, why didn't they turn us in?" Spurrier said, growing irritated by the subject "Shoot, I'm available to turn in for anything if it's illegal."


"It's a 5-yard penalty," Saban said. "Would we be having this discussion about somebody lining up offsides? ... And I don't want to get caught up in anything like Watergate, because it really wasn't about the crime, it was about the cover-up. So we're not trying to cover this up, and I certainly don't want to get in trouble with anybody doing that, because this is really an important thing, really an important thing. But I'm glad that somebody thought it was important enough to bring it to our attention so we can get it corrected."

I would submit that we would certainly be talking about this if the kicking team were lining up offsides, seeing as how that is impossible from my understanding of the rules of football. But at least Saban hasn't lost his ability to make completely disproportionate comparisons.

This could be a really interesting game next year.


If he learned anything from Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen is taping up some quotes right now
This is just kind of asking for an upset, don't you think?

Who cares if Tebow and Mullen are friends? To me, that just means Tebow is going to kick a hole in his friends teeth on Saturday.

There's the whole angle about how UF hasn't won a game in Starkville since 1985 (four-game losing streak). Booooring! Just checked the record books. Yep. Florida has won 16 in a row. Pretty sure that streak isn't ending at the hands of Mississippi State.

How can anyone possibly think that Florida fans and bloggers are arrogant?

Especially when your defense is banged up
Among the wounded: Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, Lawrence Marsh, Jaye Howard and Justin Trattou.

Tell us what you treally think about him
Alligator Army uses the five-year anniversary of the Zooker's loss at Mississippi State to unload on the coach other Florida fans simply refer to as [NAME REDACTED].

If a guy averages 8.8 yards per carry, don't you find a way to get him the ball?
Steve Addazio is struggling to find ways to use Emmanuel Moody. This is still well beyond my powers of comprehension.

Senator defends the Mumme Poll
A fair counterpoint to my wondering about who could possibly put Oklahoma among the Top 12 teams in the nation.

The SEC is disrespecting the Liberty Bowl
I'm kind of torn on this one. I understand the argument of the tradition of the Liberty, but I also understand the fact that the opponent is generally the C-USA champion.

There's something to be said for consistency
The new CBS Blog Poll is out, and TSK is No. 5 on Mr. Bold (most divergence from the poll at large), No. 5 in the running for the Coulter/Kos Award (for homerism; we count as a South Carolina blog -- the award is known as a sign of impending death for the winner); and No. 4 in Mr. Manic-Depressive (most "swing" from one week to the next). Actually, I don't mind and kind of like being both bold and quick to adapt to new realities; if we win the CK Award, I'm blaming Year2.

It's contagious
Now Pat Summitt, head coach of the Vols' women's basketball program, has contracted secondary violationitis and will be given a "letter of caution" over the incident. If they did one of these for every one of Boy Wonder's violations, there's a filing cabinet full of them somewhere in the UT athletics department.

Terry Bowden is undefeated at Division II No. 1 North Alabama
Of course; it's his first year there.