South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw have spoken.
It won’t change anything about Spurrier’s concerns regarding officiating in the Gamecocks 24-10 loss to Missouri on Saturday, but Spurrier feels like he has been heard.
“He called me back,” Spurrier said. “He can’t talk to the media and he doesn’t like for us to repeat anything from what we talk about, but I can say he certainly understood what I was calling about.”
The SEC declined a request from The State to speak directly to Shaw.
“We have no plans to issue any sort of statement at this time,” league spokesman Chuck Dunlap said via email. “Any communication from Steve about Coach Spurrier’s concerns will be addressed directly with the coach per our policies.”
Spurrier mentioned three calls specifically that bothered him immediately after Saturday’s loss – Missouri quarterback Drew Lock being called down at the 1-yard line rather than being flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, Matrick Belton being called for unnecessary roughness and Pharoh Cooper being called for offensive pass interference.
“These phantom calls, my goodness. I don’t know. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong,” he said at the time. “That’s not what beat us, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like those phantom calls … and we’ve had our share this year.”
Spurrier mentioned his frustration again Sunday.
“Nothing ever really happens too much to make referees accountable except maybe at the end of the year some of them are not rehired,” he said Sunday. “They are kind of told to retire if they have too many bad calls.”
Spurrier could face a fine or suspension for violating SEC Bylaw 10.5.4, which states “coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from all public criticism of officials, which shall include making public any specific communications with the Conference office related to officiating.”
The league issued a statement in 2009 to strengthen the penalties for violations of the bylaw, and the release stated, “all violations of SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 will be enforced by suspensions and fines.”
However, Shaw didn’t mention anything about a fine when he and Spurrier talked and Spurrier does not expect any reprimand from the league, Spurrier said.
New SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would decide the punishment for Spurrier or any coach in violation of the bylaw. Any fine levied against Spurrier would be made public by the league, Dunlap said.