|C-USA sides with ref in response to Tulane complaint|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 31 October 2007 14:25|
The league announced its findings a day after Tulane coach Bob Toledo said he had sent video of the play to conference headquarters as part of a formal complaint.
Toledo thought officials should have stopped the clock, or at least made it clear they intended to keep the clock running, after Gabe Ratcliff's catch at midfield with 17 seconds left in the game.
But the league said it confirmed with Dave Parry, the national coordinator of NCAA football officiating, the call was correct because the player was pushed out of bounds backward from the point of forward progress.
``A player pushed out of bounds backward is marked at his forward progress on the field and the clock continues to run,'' the statement said. ``In addition, the mechanics used by the official who made the call were correct.''
Tulane had a time-out remaining and Toledo said he intended to save it for another play while the Green Wave tried to get into field goal range.
While Tulane huddled, thinking the clock would be stopped until the next snap, the referee signaled for the clock to start as soon as the chains were moved to mark the new first-down distance.
Neither Toledo nor quarterback Anthony Scelfo realized the game clock was running again until Tulane's offense came to the line of scrimmage with about 7 seconds left.
Scelfo ran a play instead of using Tulane's last time-out. He was tackled after scrambling 5 yards and the game ended.
Toledo, who has coached in college for more than three decades, said when a team is in a hurry-up offense, officials usually make it clear if they intend to keep the clock running immediately after any play that ends near the sideline.
To do so, they generally make a winding motion with one arm after the tackle, then temporarily stop the clock to reset the chains, Toledo said.
In this case, the line judge only waved his arms above his head, indicating that Ratcliff was out of bounds.
Conference officials said the rules do not require officials to do any more than they did, but that they would ``continue to emphasize the importance of clear communication between the officials and coaches regarding clock management and encourage the use of the referee's microphone.''