COUGARS • UPDATED: 5:20 P.M.
After spending the day waiting for some clarification, I'm ready to take a final run at the technical foul from the Oregon game. I have put together some web-only stuff, which includes the Pac-10's response to WSU's questions about the call. Read on.
• WSU athletic director Jim Sterk said Monday he inquired about the end of the first overtime and the end of the second, asking the conference "just to review the situation." The Pac-10 responded (see below) by, as Sterk said, "quoting part of the rule book. I felt that, ya, the rules that they quoted were correct. However, there's a line at the bottom of the rule that states that if play was not delayed, the rule should be ignored." Sterk said he had a chance to review the video WSU has. Asked he ever saw an Oregon player with a ball out-of-bounds, trying to get it in, Sterk said, "no. Actually, the individual walked towards his bench." The rules quoted by the conference in its response to Sterk included a different one than the two read by the officiating crew after the game - Rule 6, Section 1, article 4B and Rule 10, Section 6, article 1N – in explaining their decision. Asked if that discrepancy bothered him, Sterk answered "no" then continue, saying the situation was "obviously very complicated," before acknowledging how tough a job officials have. He continued, "it's a difficult job, I understand that. I'm more concerned with the precedent that it may set. If you go by those rules, in the future they need to be interpreted consistently the same way. And that's my concern. I just want consistency."
• What follows was sent to me from Dave Hirsch, assistant commissioner, men's basketball administration, in response to a question I posed, asking if the Pac-10 was reviewing the call at the request of WSU. Hirsch serves as the men's basketball spokesman and I believe this is either exactly what the conference sent Sterk or very similar. Here is the response in its entirety. The boldface was added by the conference:
We have concluded that the playing rules were enforced correctly. The relevant rule is Rule 10, Section 6, Article 2, Paragraph h (page 139) of the NCAA Basketball Rule Book, "A technical foul shall be assessed to the coach and all bench personnel for the following infraction: Delaying the game by preventing the ball from being promptly made live or preventing continuous play, such as bench personnel entering the playing court before player activity has been terminated. In such case, when the delay does not interfere with play, it shall be ignored."
The situation which occurred with 0:00.3 remaining in the first overtime was a “live ball” situation. After the basket by DeAngelo Casto, a WSU player (as well as a fan) ran onto the court to celebrate the successful basket. The delay that followed with the impromptu celebration was a clear interruption, preventing continuous play and an indirect technical foul was assessed to WSU. While it was suggested by Coach Bone that the Oregon coach was calling for a timeout after the basket, this was neither seen on the available video, nor confirmed by the officials.
The distinction regarding the situation which occurred with 0:00.5 remaining in the second overtime, is that this was a “dead ball” situation. Oregon’s Malcolm Armstead was fouled while making a successful basket. When the foul was called, it became a dead ball situation. At that time, there was no delay caused by the Oregon bench that interfered with play.
Additionally, the NCAA Basketball Case Book (A.R. 208) refers to the following situation:
"Team B leads 67-66. A1's two-point try for goal is successful. Two seconds remain on the game clock. Assuming that the successful try was a game-ending and winning goal: Bench personnel from Team A go onto the playing court to celebrate. RULING: When a celebration causes a delay by preventing the ball from being promptly made alive or prevents continuous play: An indirect technical foul shall be assessed to the head coach. When the celebration does not delay or interfere with play, the celebration shall be ignored."
We want our officials to correctly and consistently enforce the rules of the game, and following the review, we believe our officials did so in these situations.
• That's it for now. Take it for what you will. We'll be back as events warrant. Until then ...