Mississippi State AD John Cohen addresses officiating issues in Tuscaloosa, speaking with SEC office following Alabama game
Even some die-hard Alabama fans would have to admit some big calls went against Mississippi State on Saturday, including an early fumble that wasn’t called and a touchdown that was taken off the board. While Alabama cruised to a 24-0 win over Mississippi State, considering Tua Tagovailoa was injured in the game and missed the fourth quarter, there’s reason to believe the outcome of the game could have been in question had those mistakes by the officials not occurred.
Following the aftermath of that scene, Mississippi State Athletic Director John Cohen did speak with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Director of SEC Officiating Steve Shaw spoke on Sunday. What did they discuss?
Cohen touched on that, without giving specifics, of course, Monday morning during an appearance on The Out of Bounds Show with host Bo Bounds, out of Jackson, Miss. Video of their interview can be viewed in full here on The Out of Bounds Facebook page.
Here is what Cohen said in regards to his talks with the SEC:
“We are in constant contact with the league. Steve Shaw does a really nice job of officiating in the Southeastern Conference and, of course, Greg Sankey is one of the tremendous leaders in all of sports as the commissioner,” Cohen said on Monday. “I was in contact with both of those guys on Sunday, the more I speak to them, the more I realize how good they are at what they do.
“We are talking about human beings doing things well, or sometimes making mistakes. That’s one of the compelling things of intercollegiate sports. At the end of the day, I have so much confidence in our league and their ability to work through things and make things right. There are some unfortunate things that happened in our game and again, I think some appropriate measures will be taken.”
Cohen was then asked if he believes that officials should be held accountable for missed calls:
“Yeah, I do believe there should be consequences,” the Mississippi State AD answered. “I think there are consequences, it’s just not as viewable as fans may want them to be and that’s for very specific reasons. You have to understand, the student-athletes have to be protected when they make mistakes and let’s face it, officials are doing their very best and they make mistakes. They have to be protected also, these guys are doing the very best job they can. These guys are studying film, they are doing the best job they can.
“The one thing I always told my players when I was coaching, if you think it’s easy and you want to be critical of officials, go try it yourself. Go put the uniform on and go see how easy it is, it’s not. It’s incredibly difficult but it is the professional they have chosen and if you don’t perform at the highest level, there are consequences.”
on if Cohen was surprised the fumble by Damien Harris wasn’t reviewed:
“Yeah. Things happen quickly, I was a little disappointed that didn’t happen. I think all of our fans, players and coaches were disappointed that wasn’t reviewed,” Cohen said. “The one thing about watching from the press box, the broadcast is about 11 seconds behind the game action. Our coaches had no ability in real time to see a replay fast enough that would have helped Coach Moorhead make that decision. It was a close call. I could see being on the field and making that call.”
You have to hand it to Cohen for handling the issue with class, at no point did he call out the SEC, Alabama or the officials and understands everyone involved is doing the best they can on game days in the fall. That won’t be much solace for Hail State fans moving forward but at the very least, Mississippi State’s AD isn’t making a mockery of the bad calls and bringing negative attention to the school or the football program, unlike some others around the league have done in the past.
Again, if you missed the interview with Cohen, it can be viewed in full here on The Out of Bounds Facebook page.