WSU Basketball's Beef: Pac-10 Asserts Officials Got It Right

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WSU Basketball's Beef: Pac-10 Asserts Officials Got It Right
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Washington State has been given the final word regarding its home game against Oregon on New Year's Eve. The debatable call made at the end of overtime by Pac-10 officials has been viewed, reviewed, and considered.

In case you have forgotten the incident, it appeared the Cougs were about to win a hard-fought overtime victory over the Ducks. DeAngelo Casto put home the winning bucket with 00.3 left in the extra five-minute period.

Understandably, the WSU bench erupted in jubilation to express its competitive emotions. Officials felt the Cougar bench was in violation of rules by their display, calling a technical foul that sent Tajuan Porter to the line. Yes, Porter sank both shots to force another overtime period, where Oregon prevailed, 91-89.

After cautious deliberation, WSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk made a formal request for the conference to review the call for legitimacy.

Sterk went about asking for a review without fanfare or lacking a flashy, inflammatory series of diatribes in the media. Clearly the man's patience was being tested.

When all was said and done, the Pac-10 stood behind their officials. No surprise there.

With the case being closed, Sterk sent an e-mail today bringing Cougar Nation up to date. Here's the text from his note:

Dear Cougar Athletics Fan,

Over the past three weeks I have been inundated with comments from alumni, donors, members of the Pullman community, and Cougars fans across the country regarding the officials' decision to issue a technical foul on our bench with point-three seconds remaining in the first overtime of the Dec. 31, 2009 men's basketball game vs. the University of Oregon. That came after one of our student-athletes made a basket to give the Cougars a two-point lead in a highly-contested game.

Following the game I asked the Pac-10 for an official review of the game officials interpretation at the end of the first overtime. I received a response from Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference, which stated: "I have now had a chance to review the matter along with our men's basketball officiating coordinator Bill McCabe, and head of men's basketball Dave Hirsch. We together reviewed the video replays and Bill has had several follow-up discussions with the officials who worked the game. In short, I have concluded that the playing rules were enforced correctly."

The conference stated the playing rules were enforced correctly at the end of the first overtime, determining that it remained a “live ball” situation and therefore we prevented continuous play. I then sent the Pac-10 a copy of the coaches' video from the contest, including views they were not provided from the original game telecast. The conference reviewed the second video and reaffirmed its initial review of the play.

At this point we have no other recourse but to abide by the conference’s interpretation and move forward. We appreciate the support of all Cougar fans and look forward to seeing the Cougar Nation pack Friel Court throughout the season.

All the best,

Jim Sterk

Time to move on.


Originally published in Lew Wright's WSU Sports column on Examiner.com

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