The ACC releases statement about officiating at end of Miami-Duke game

Oct 31, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils quarterback Thomas Sirk (1) and wide receiver Max McCaffrey (87) watch the monitor as officials try to decide the end of the game Miami Hurricanes touchdown in the closing seconds of their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlantic Coast Conference put out the following press release on Sunday concerning the controversial ending to Saturday’s Miami-Duke game in Durham.

RELATED: Twitter sounds off on ACC officials in wild ending

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the officiating crew that worked the game has been suspended indefinitely.

“The quality of our officiating program is of the highest importance to the league and its schools, and the last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” Swofford said in the press release. “Officiating is an extraordinarily difficult job but our players, coaches, programs and fans deserve the best that can be offered. We will continue to strive to meet that standard.”

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced the suspension of the on-field officiating crew as well as the replay official and communicator following the Miami at Duke game on Saturday, October 31.

The announcement follows the league’s weekly review of game footage, as well as reports and interviews with officials and administrators.

The series of errors during the final play of the game will result in the suspension of the entire crew for two ACC games.

The errors that occurred during the last play of the game are:

  • The replay official erred in not overturning the ruling on the field that the Miami player had released the ball prior to his knee being down. If called, this would have ended the game.
  • The on-field officials erred by failing to penalize Miami for an illegal block in the back at the Miami 16-yard line. If called, the ball would have been placed at the Miami 8-yard line and the game would have been extended for an untimed down.
  • A block in the back foul was called at the Duke 26-yard line. After the officials conferred, which is appropriate, they correctly determined that the block was from the side, which resulted in the flag being picked up. The replay official was not involved in the decision to pick up the flag; however, the referee did not effectively manage communication and properly explain why the flag was picked up.
  • In addition, the on-field crew failed to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of the play. This foul would not have negated the touchdown because it would have been enforced as a dead ball foul.
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  • The replay official erred in not overturning the ruling on the field that the Miami player had released the ball prior to his knee being down. In otherwords Duke won. Make it right ACC!

    • Exactly. Change the outcome afterwards. Make it right.

    • Boy am I tired of all this. Eliminate instant replay review. Let the officials, humans, officiate the game. Allow the head coach three call questions a game with no penalty to them for the question. If there is a questionable call the refs should get together discuss it and rule right or wrong there. Let’s keep the human in the game. Or get rid of the on field refs and let the replay official in the booth call the game.

  • Since the game should have been over when the Miami player’s knee touched the ground, taking those points off the board today would be the right thing to do. Hard to do that for a play in the middle of the game but time had run out.

  • AND… when the ball hit the ground during one of the laterals, it should have been ruled a fumble and spotted right there, because at the end of a game, only the player who fumbled the ball who can advance it on a recovery (See: Auburn/UGA 2005 Ending For My Reasoning)

    • That’s absolutely not true. I’ve seen many cases where another player has picked up and returned a fumble for a touchdown

      • I hate to front you out like this, because you’re an Auburn fan, but… If an offensive player fumbles in the FINAL TWO MINUTES another offensive player CAN recover but CAN NOT advance the ball – the ball is spotted at the spot of the fumble. However, if the same player recovers the fumble he may advance the ball.

        • You’re talking about the NFL. That is not a rule in college football. The rule you’re referencing from the 2005 Auburn/Georgia game is concerning forward motion of a fumble. When an offensive player fumbles the ball through forward motion into the endzone, it can not be recovered by a different player for a Touchdown. The lateral that occurred last night in the Miami/Duke game resulting in a fumble was a legal recovery as it was in backwards motion and not fumbled into the endzone.

  • I hope they will do the right thing and give Duke the win. That crew should be suspended.

  • You are all a bunch of whiners. Replay, while part of the game, cannot change the outcome once the game has ended. If that were the case it would happen dozens of times every weekend. I have no pony in this game. Watched most of the game and a ranked team like Duke supposedly was should not have even been in that position. Suck it up boys!

    • Agree in part. I like Cutcliff and think he is a great coach. But the players who had good chances to contain and make a tackle were knocked to the ground with blocks in the back toward the beginning of the play.
      As for giving Duke the win, that would open a whole bunch of problems and we would probably see a whole new industry emerge with replays being put together and Lawyers getting involved. We do not want to go down that road. :-)

    • I have no pony in this game? No.
      no dog in this fight.
      no skin in this game.
      no horse in this race.

    • U are right. If Duke did what they should have done throughout the game, it wouldnt have come down to a single play. The canes had 23 penalties and Duke didnt capitalize on most of them.

      • But Duke did do what they needed to do to win the game. That’s why there is so much outrage. They made the play even though Miami broke several rules in the process but Miami is awarded with the win. Get with it man. Not playing as well as some guy thinks you should is not how games are decided.

      • it was a fluke, they should give duke the win because they won, but every team has their flukes!

  • After listening to the former head of ACC officials on College Football Sunday, it’s no wonder they are a gang of idiots. Jason Seahorn was beside himself about how he was defining “irrefutable” and the total lack of common sense. The officiating rulebook needs to be rewritten during the off-season. I would also put the SEC officials not far behind the ACC for incompetence.

    • 2007 Alabama @ Ole Miss. SEC officials are worse. They’re not screwing up, they’re straight up cheating.

      • I’m sure there are a few cases of personal animosity, we’ve seen them on rare occasions, but I would guess 98% of the time that it’s sheer incompetence. Like Seahorn said, ignoring common sense to lawyer a definition of “irrefutable”.

        • Your post on this issue are spot on.

        • Your right. But I still remember the Penn St. Alabama game, where Alabama probably made one of the top three biggest come backs in their history. Yet an official 30 yards away from the play, latter found out to be a Penn State graduate or had some affiliation with Penn State, said the catch was out of bounds. It was before replay. Two officials close to the play argued, but the official was adamant and the win was taken from alabama.

  • Well there’s an asterisk on two historical records paid for by Vegas betting lines. That’s the reason we’ll not see a reversal. Vegas bets have already cashed in on a Miami win. It’s hard to fail at winning but I guess it’s true you can’t spell sUck without the U.

    • I understand your point, but the NCAA and the conferences should not be operating based on Vegas’s issues. That’s Vegas’s problem to deal with, not the ACC’s.

  • The refs need to start doing a better job at making the right calls. During the Tennessee/Kentucky game, a Tennessee player was ejected for targeting when he had actually hit a Kentucky player with his shoulder. The refs need to start doing their jobs because most of the time, believe it or not, the refs are the really people who decide the fate of a game more than the players and coaches.

    • This is happening alot. I am seeing players ejected on what appears to be legal plays and seeing penalties overturned after replay on hits that are clearly against the rule. They took a ridiculous rule and made it worse with inconsistent enforcement.

  • They won’t change the outcome. Can you imagine the poopstorm that would be ignited if this happened? Every team that thought they lost a game based on an officiating error would be wanting the outcome to be changed after the fact. The league offices would do nothing but spend time reviewing game tape and making a call on EVERY game… you will never see a game outcome changed after the fact (vacating wins is a different story). That would be stupid. That being said, this is the human side of the game. The officials will make mistakes. Granted they made a few mistakes on that one play, but still, if you want the games called without error, there needs to be a computerized system for officiating.

    • Normally, I would agree but this play in question was the last play of the game. The correct call being made would have directly resulted in the game ending without Miami’s score or an opportunity to score afterwards. The ACC’s statements admit the result of the game was incorrect based solely on the incorrect call made.

  • I’ll bet Penn Wagers is glad to finally see worse officials than him.

  • Wow. Never see this in the SEC. League- agreed-game-changing errors were made in the Mizzou -Georgia game but there was nothing like this as a result.

  • That was the most blatant misuse of the IRS I have seen to this point. The Instant Replay System was put in use to end this kind of problem not create them. Just saying dang we messed up is not enough…..

  • So the ACC recognizes that the call on the last play was wrong on multiple levels. They acknowledge the player was down, which would end the game. So why do they allow the result to stand? I can not understand this. If it denies Duke an opportunity to participate in the ACC championship game, it makes that game fraudulent.

  • I think the most fair thing to do is to give both teams the win and take away the loss.

  • According to Dan Le Batard, all of this media outcry is nothing more than bias against the city of Miami as a whole… I hate that he had Cowherd’s radio spot now… His TV show is terrible, and his radio show is awful.

  • Duke won that game. I hope the ACC will serve justice for the Blue Devils.

  • The ACC is very stupid in not reversing the game. Duke won, 3 blocks in the back, ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Duke deserves to win. Also the knee was down, come on! ACC fix what the refs couldn’t see! Make it right!!!!!!!!

  • Duke should not be penalized on the refs mistakes! ACC HEAR MY CRY!

  • My grandmother can barely speak english and can still see the wrong in that play! Fix it ACC. I speak for the people (other than miami and NC Fans)

  • Could Cutcliffe sue the ACC for not giving duke the win