Pac-10 reprimands Harbaugh for critical comments on officials

Updated: October 6, 2008, 8:19 PM ET
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com

Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen reprimanded Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday for criticizing the officiating of the Cardinal's game at Notre Dame. Hansen also said that the call made by a Pac-10 crew that so steamed Harbaugh was correct.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Harbaugh took issue with a second-quarter call in which Stanford was flagged for failing to provide a Notre Dame player an unimpeded opportunity to catch a punt. The penalty erased the recovery of the muffed punt by Stanford on the Irish 37-yard line.

"Pac-10 officials have reviewed video of the play and it is apparent the Stanford player covering the punt impeded the Notre Dame player attempting to catch it," Hansen said in a statement.

"The call was correct."

Hansen refers to NCAA rule 6-4-1: "A player of the receiving team within the boundary lines must be given an unimpeded opportunity to catch the kick."

Hansen added, "Even though the player attempting to catch the kick was bumped by his teammate, he still attempted to catch the kick and was impeded by the Stanford player. The rule places the onus on the kicking team member to avoid impeding the opportunity to catch the ball."

Talking to reporters after Stanford's 28-21 defeat, Harbaugh said: "We got a couple of bad calls. It's hard to imagine people don't know football any better than that. Maybe I'll be swayed differently after I see the replay, but from what I saw on the field, I still can't get over it. It was a really bad call. It should have been our ball and a touchdown for us."

Pac-10 rules prohibit coaches from commenting publically on officiating.

Ted Miller covers the Pac-10 for ESPN.com and can be reached at tedmillerespn@gmail.com.

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