B1G cops to ‘breakdown in officiating mechanics’ in Nebraska-Illini game

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The Big 12 wasn’t the only conference acknowledging shoddy officiating and offering up mea culpas after Week 5.

In a press release sent out Monday, the Big Ten, to the surprise of no one, confirmed that it’s crew in the Nebraska-Illinois game Saturday screwed up, although they used the phrase “breakdown in officiating mechanics” to describe it.  On the Illini’s first series of the second half of their win over the Cornhuskers, the chain gang and whoever is responsible upstairs failed to award the Illini a first down on a three-yard run on second and one.

The Illini in turn ran the next two plays as if it were first and second down when in actuality they were thought to be third and fourth downs by the officiating crew, the chain gang and those monitoring the game.  As the fourth down-play-that-was-actually-third down didn’t net enough for a first down, the ball went back to the Cornhuskers on downs.

The kicker?  SBNation.com writes that “[t]he original down and distance was reviewed and the crew still somehow managed to mess it up.”

The gaffe ultimately had no impact on the outcome, especially as the home team was concerned, as the Illini beat the ‘Huskers on a last-second touchdown. Below is the complete release from the conference.

Collegiate Officiating Consortium Coordinator of Officials Bill Carollo acknowledged a breakdown of officiating mechanics in regards to down and distance during the first series of the third quarter in the Nebraska at Illinois football game on Saturday, Oct. 3.

While officials on the field are responsible for the correct down, distance and oversight of the chain crew, it is also the responsibility of the replay officials to monitor the game administration and correct the number of a down and distance if inaccurate. If properly officiated, the Illinois football team would have had an additional down.

All officials in the Collegiate Officiating Consortium are graded and evaluated on every call of every game of the season. Errors of this nature have a significant impact on game assignments, bowl assignments and overall year-end status.

The Collegiate Officiating Consortium consists of the Big Ten, Mid-American and Missouri Valley Conferences. The consortium considers this matter concluded and will have no further comment.