October 21, 2009

SEC suspends referees

The same officiating crew at the center of the controversy in the Georgia-LSU game has been suspended by the SEC.

According to a release from the league office in Birmingham, Marc Curles' crew will not be allowed to call games until Nov. 14. Curles' crew was the same one which incorrectly called a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on A.J. Green that played a role in the Tigers being able to come back and beat the Bulldogs 20-13.

The same crew was involved in another controversy over the weekend in Gainesville, Fla. when it called a personal foul on Arkansas' Malcome Sheppard in the fourth quarter of last week's 23-20 win by Florida. Video evidence did not support the penalty.

"A series of calls that have occurred during the last several weeks have not been to the standard that we expect from our officiating crews," said SEC commissioner Mike Slive. "I believe our officiating program is the best in the country, however, there are times when these actions must be taken."

Slive also said that there will be an impact on eligibility for post-season bowl assignments for the crew.

"While only a few calls have been identified, the entire crew shoulders responsibility for each play. I have taken this action because there must be accountability in our officiating program," added Slive. "Our institutions expect the highest level of officiating in all of our sports and it is the duty of the conference office to uphold that expectation."

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