SEC officiating in chaos

It's getting old. We saw it in the Arkansas-Florida game, ridiculous calls that cost the Hogs a victory over the Gators. Despite token action taken by Mike Slive and the SEC, the same type of officiating errors reoccurred over the past weekend.

After last week's SEC officiating fiasco in Gainesville now we have Dan Mullen, Bobby Johnson and Lane Kiffin all complaining about the guys in stripes this week and with good reason.

Lane Kiffin is wondering why Alabama players can remove their helmets and run around the field in celebration while the clock is still running. Video evidence clearly shows he was correct on in his assessment. We remember of few years back when Earl Bennett was called with a ridiculous celebration penalty at Florida in a game that went to double overtime before the Commodores lost, 49-42. The Alabama players did far worse than Bennett did but nothing gets called. Additionally, Kiffin said that one of the reasons he didn't run another play before attempting the field goal was that he didn't want to allow the officials a chance to decide the game. Seems that Tennessee, one of the nation's least penalized teams, had garnered multiple penalties during the game compared to just one for Alabama. Yeah, I dislike UT but what's up with that SEC? Where was the flag on glamour boy Alabama as the game ended?

Mississippi State's Mullen was hot because Florida was awarded a touchdown after an interception return despite the fact that it was apparent in replays that the ball was fumbled before he crossed the goal line. "I don't know why we even have replay right now in the Southeastern Conference if they are not going to utilize it," Mullen told the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Question for the SEC? Why wasn't the ball given to State on the 20 and why couldn't Vanderbilt get special treatment like that at West Point a few weeks ago?

Kiffen and Mullen were each reprimanded by the Slive on Monday for the comments about officiating.

Bobby Johnson is also probably wondering why we even have replay after Saturday's 14-10 loss to South Carolina. Early in the game Vanderbilt apparently recovered a fumble deep in South Carolina territory. The ruling on the field was that Vanderbilt had recovered. The replay was not conclusive meaning the call in the field should have remained Vanderbilt ball. However the replay official let USC keep the ball. Later with Vanderbilt trailing, 10-7, South Carolina scored an apparent touchdown pass. The play was ruled a touchdown pass on the field but replays clearly showed the player's foot on the line as he finally assumed possession of the ball. However, the replay official did not overturn the touchdown and South Carolina went on the win the game. Johnson can't watch replays during the game but after the loss he was alarmed by the number of messages he had from friends, "I had more texts on my cell phone after the game than I've ever had. I'd like to find out why." Johnson says he planned on calling Rogers Redding who is the SEC Coordinator of Officials.

Whether Johnson calls Redding or not really means nothing now. The game is over and Vanderbilt lost just like Tennessee and Mississippi State lost. Arkansas's loss to the Gators last week will also not be erased from the record books.

Action needs to be taken and it shouldn't just be an official sitting out a couple of games. For some of the more blatant missed/no calls or bad calls it should be a permanent thing. No more reffing in the nation's mightiest college conference. Action should also be taken against the guy at the top who has allowed this garbage to go on for years: Mike Slive. Maybe the university leaders at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Tennessee should call a conference of school presidents to discuss finding a new SEC commissioner who will do more than just eye wash to ensure that SEC offiating is fair and consistent for all teams. Rogers Redding might need to invest in a book on football rules and have his boys get eye exams or get another job himself. Who knows, maybe the NCAA should get involved if the SEC isn't properly supervising and training their officials. You'd think they would if it had such major national championship ramifications and it does.

But really, football players work their butts off all year long to have a chance to win and they do this on top of going to school. If the officials aren't allowing the players to compete then get some who will. Getting this problem fixed for good is just the right thing to do. SEC school presidents and chancellors are you listening?

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