USC Football: Pac-10 Reprimands UCLA's Smith; Stanford's Clock Operator Secret

Bill NCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

Larry Scott, Pac-10 Commissioner
Larry Scott, Pac-10 CommissionerGeorge Frey/Getty Images

The Pac-10 has publicly reprimanded UCLA freshman center Joshua Smith about the officiating during the Jan. 8 men’s basketball game against USC. 

The press release stated: “While we are appreciative of the fact that he has since apologized publicly for his remarks, all of our student-athletes must adhere to Pac-10 policy that prohibits them from making public comments about officiating,” Commissioner Larry Scott said. “In these circumstances, Conference rules require a public reprimand.”

Smith had already been publicly reprimanded by his coach and apologized to the media.

Yet, USC lost the Stanford football game because the clock operator and officials “mishandled” the clock during the last minutes of the game, allowing Stanford to kick a last-second field goal. 

The Pac-10 has refused to provide any information about the paid adult professional clock operator who is believed to be a Stanford employee, or what they have done to address the apparently deliberate manipulation of the clock.

According to Yahoo Sports, this was one of the five worst calls of 2010.

So far the Freedom of Information Act has not been successful in getting this information. 

So, what is the Pac-10 saying to justify their silence?

Apparently the Pac-10 believes it is a private organization and doesn’t have to release any information.  Since there are eight, soon to be 10, state institutions among its members it seems to be a de facto public institution and should be open and transparent.

Of course, after the USC-Arizona State game the Pac-10 had no problem immediately publicly chastising the officials for a bad call.

The Pac-10 should not just pick and choose who it identifies and reprimands and who it protects by keeping their names and actions and penalties secret.

Wonder what the Pac-10 is hiding by keeping this secret?

Note:  Dan Weber of has been following this story and attempting to get an explanation from the Pac-10. Much of this article reflects a blog entry by him on Jan. 13.