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Subject: Re: Princetonian Harvard Law School Alumnus Raises The Stakes For League Office

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Date Posted: 15:35:41 12/01/21 Wed
In reply to: An Observer 's message, "Princetonian Harvard Law School Alumnus Raises The Stakes For League Office" on 14:17:50 12/01/21 Wed

Harvard was hosed based on the following:

The Ivy League, not Harvard, reviewed the situation and the rules and determined the officials had erred

As Two Cents pointed out, there has never ever been a situation in the last 20 years since replay reviews were implemented, where a replay review awarded a team a timeout

The rule book may state that the replay official may correct obvious errors that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. I don’t believe a coach trying to call a timeout that was not seen or
Is ignored by an onfield ref as being an obvious error that had a significant impact on the game. Because this happens all the time in games where refs don’t see coaches calling timeout, many times at critical junctures. It is part of the game, and coaches like Harbaugh and Dabo have had similar situations recently where refs did not see them frantically calling timeout. Did they go to replay booth and award them timeouts? NO

Also, I watched the game and thought the Harvard players and Murphy were extremely deflated and dejected after they went to replay and gave the timeout to Surace. If anything THAT caused a significant impact on the result of the game. Emotional and physical letdown after that, leading to the Princeton victory.

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[> [> [> Subject: We Should Decide This on Principle or on The Letter of The Law. You Do Neither.

An Observer
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Date Posted: 18:50:59 12/01/21 Wed


I'll fully grant you two points.

First, Harvard players and Murphy were probably indeed deflated and dejected after the timeout was retroactively granted by the replay official. The players and Murphy were probably further deflated and dejected after the next scoring conversion was overturned on an offensive pass interference penalty. They might have been even more deflated and dejected after the third scoring conversion was overturned because Murphy himself had called timeout before the snap.

That's a lot of deflation and dejection for one team to undergo in the span of three short overtime periods.

Secondly, as Two Cents pointed out, it's been 15 years since college football introduced video replay. I, for one, cannot recall any precedent for a time out being retroactively.

So I agree with those two points. So what?

Those are interesting observations, but have nothing to do with how this matter should be decided.

A lot of things have never happened before they first happen, right? That's kind of what people mean when they say, "There's a first time for everything."

I can sympathize with Harvard having to maintain its focus after its starting quarterback was injured, just as Princeton had to maintain its focus after its starting running back was injured, or Yale had to maintain its focus after its savior second-string quarterback started handing out interceptions to Princeton and Harvard like they were party favors. Dartmouth had to maintain its focus after being punched in the mouth by Columbia on a cold night in Hanover.

That's why we admire people who maintain concentration and discipline in the face of adversity. Because it's hard.

No, those are not legitimate reasons to give the victory to Harvard.

In my opinion, there are only two legitimate, reasonable ways to decide this issue.

The first is on Principle and the second is on The Letter of The Law.

Principle means, "What is most fair? What most comports with what we want out of a sporting competition?" We want an unbiased competition as free as possible from factors outside the control of the two competitors.

That includes errors by officials. Nobody disputes that Surace was trying to call time out. When I spoke with the NCAA, they were able to describe to me in detail his exact path out onto the field. Everybody agrees Surace was doing his level best to call a timeout to which he was entitled. Officials not seeing or hearing Surace is an error that we have the technology to correct.

You don't want to correct that error because you say, "A full team of officials missing a head coach attempting to call time out is not reviewable. Those are the rules!"

Well, okay. If those are the rules, we should live by the rules. After all, we aspire to be a nation of laws, not men, right? I support that general principle, even as we discover it's not always straightforward to apply.

If we should live by the rules, then let's consult the rules.

Well, we've got a lot of people combing through the NCAA rule book and -- guess what? -- there is no rule which says an attempt to call time out cannot be reviewed by video replay. Indeed, the most applicable rule is the now oft quoted Article 7.

Article 7 is clear. Very clear.

Article 7 grants the video replay official unfettered discretion to correct either "obvious errors which may have a significant impact on the game" (2021 edition) or "egregious errors which may have a significant impact on the game." (2019 edition)

So that's the Letter of The Law.

Which do you prefer? Principle or Letter of The Law.

I could be convinced to change sides on this debate if somebody could direct us to anything in the NCAA rule book which supersedes Article 7. That's what the Ivy League office needs to do now.

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[> [> [> Subject: another perspectives on the H-P OT

ivy guy
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Date Posted: 20:43:43 12/01/21 Wed

Love ya' man, but ... Article 7 (or any section of the rules) are not the exclusive letter of the law.

It is not unusual for football officials, at any level, to disagree on a call or interpretation. That is why the rules have a specific structure for resolution.

The referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game and has the final authority on all rulings.

The video offical(s) is not the final authority.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: another perspectives on the H-P OT

An Observer
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Date Posted: 21:07:34 12/01/21 Wed

Love you, too. I will never forget your relentless optimism and positivity in the darkest days of summer 2020, during the worst of the pandemic. The entire 2021 football season was a celebration of our return to the gridiron, vindicating your spirit of looking forward to a better future.

Your point about the hierarchy among game officials seems reasonable to me.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: another perspectives on the H-P OT

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Date Posted: 21:47:09 12/01/21 Wed

"The referee .... has the final authority on all rulings." Do you have the cite to this rule (or other basis)? Presumably there are some limits to this authority - for example, can the ref require that a rule be ignored?

And taking this thought further, if the referee in this case agreed with the replay official (or at least declined to overrule the replay official), wouldn't that answer any debate over how the rule should be applied?

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