WAC OFFICIALS SUSPENDED FOR FINISH OF HAWAII GAME

San Jose State quarterback Scott Rislov said he appreciated the WAC's ruling. But, the senior added, ``It's still a loss. The score's always going to be 13-10.''

The Western Athletic Conference on Tuesday suspended the officiating crew that worked San Jose State's 13-10 loss to Hawaii on Saturday, noting that the officials made several errors on the final play and that time should not have run out on the Spartans.

The conference slapped the seven officials with a one-game suspension and banned them from consideration for postseason assignments.

``Good players make mistakes and good coaches make mistakes, and in this case good officials made mistakes,'' WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said. ``Fortunately, I have not had to take this kind of action that many times before.

``I've been prepared to take this kind of action and our officials know if there are blatant mistakes, they're going to face the consequences.''

San Jose State quarterback Scott Rislov said he appreciated the WAC's ruling. But, the senior added, ``It's still a loss. The score's always going to be 13-10.''

The Spartans had visions of another score as they drove in the final minute. With 20 seconds remaining, Rislov threw a cross-field screen pass to tight end Courtney Anderson, who was stopped inches short of the goal line.

Replays showed that Rislov then spiked the ball with a fraction of a second left. Scoreboard clocks on each end of the field also indicated one second to play.

The officials, however, disagreed. Referee Gene Semko consulted with back judge Bob Taylor, then told the Spartan Stadium crowd: ``According to the time on the field, the game is over.''

In the WAC, time isn't kept on the field unless the scoreboards go out. Benson said the back judge keeps time in the final two minutes of each half as a safeguard. Asked why the officials disagreed with the scoreboard Saturday, Benson said: ``It was more of a gut feeling that time must have expired.''

Benson said officials on the field are at a ``severe disadvantage in terms of sight. The stadium clock operator obviously has a much better view of it.''

Replays revealed at least three other missed calls in the final 20 seconds:

• On the screen play, a San Jose State lineman committed an undetected hold.

• After Anderson was tackled, a Hawaii player knocked the ball from his hands. Hawaii should have been penalized for delay of game.

• Even if the final play had counted, Rislov hesitated before he spiked the ball. Because he didn't immediately throw it to the ground, he could have been called for an illegal forward pass.

Ultimately, however, the Spartans should have had the opportunity to run one more play, the WAC stated in its release. (The conference didn't disclose the other infractions.)

``My heart aches for my football team, especially our seniors,'' San Jose State Coach Fitz Hill said.

A win would have kept alive San Jose State's slim bowl hopes.

The officials who worked the Hawaii game are scheduled to officiate San Jose State's season finale against Tulsa on Nov. 22 at Spartan Stadium. But a source close to the situation said the crew is expected to serve its suspension that weekend.

Never before has an entire WAC crew received disciplinary action, Benson said. Other conferences, however, have taken such action.


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