The SEC’s head of officials has finally publicly addressed the officiating situation that came up in October’s South Carolina-Florida football game.
Steve Shaw didn’t go into specifics about the game that had both Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp and Ray Tanner emotional but said the crew that day graded out “solidly.” He also talked about the process or review and speaking to the school in that situation.
“That game, and I’m going off memory here, there were 188 plays officiated in that game, and we evaluate all 188,” Shaw said. “We give the school an accounting, especially on things they have questions on. We don’t go public on what we consider incorrect calls or correct calls. But we’re very specific with the coach and athletic director when they ask and we give them feedback from the game.
“I can say overall in that game, the crew from a grading perspective graded out solidly. That doesn’t talk to individual plays.”
Shaw noted they have never had a perfect game. Their aim is to eliminate incorrect calls in what he called critical situations.
“We did have communication with the schools,” Shaw added. “They know exactly how the evaluations were.”
There were several questionable calls that had Muschamp steamed. Late in the game he received an unsportsmanlike conduct call and was critical of how it was delivered, breaking out he phrase “gutless.”
Both Muschamp and Tanner said they spoke to Shaw and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in the week after that game.
The most notable pair of questionable officiating moments came on a 75-yard touchdown run that tied it 17-17. There appeared to be a missed false start from the Gators right tackle. Then, corner Israel Mukuamu was blocked well downfield with the receiver holding a handful of jersey.
Later in the game, the Gators scored a touchdown on a pick play where an offensive player appears to start blocking a defender well before the pass was completed. That is acceptable when the pass is caught behind the line, but not ahead of it.
Shaw declined to speak to any questions about accountability after that game, but did speak to how officials are held accountable in general.
“There is high accountability in every one of these,” Shaw said. “Your individual and your crew scores impact if you’re going to work and if you do work, what types of games you get. High accountability on that, and it does have impact on the schedule and availability of those officials.”