Big Sky suspends officials for misapplication of rule

Updated: January 22, 2007, 5:33 PM ET
Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. -- The Big Sky Conference has suspended three women's basketball officials for a wrong call during the Montana State-Idaho State game in Pocatello, Idaho on Saturday.

Bob Scofield, Robert Holloway and Coby Chaney have all been suspended for one Big Sky game, league officials announced Monday.

Late in the second half of Montana State's 91-80 victory over the Bengals, the officials took a Montana State 3-point field goal off the scoreboard following a timing problem.

The 3-pointer occurred following a time out taken with 3:05 on the game clock, and 13 seconds on the shot clock.

After Idaho State had begun bringing the ball up court following the made 3-pointer, the officials stopped play because both the official game clock and shot clock had malfunctioned. The officiating crew nullified MSU's 3-point basket and in essence, the officials ignored all play that occurred after the throw-in by MSU following the time out. The officials also failed to use information provided to them when determining how much time should be put on the clock, the league said.

"As a league, we are very supportive of our officials and we defer to them for judgment calls," said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. "But on an application of a rule, with three officials on the floor, we expect them to get it right. And, in light of the recent NCAA bulletin, which specifically addresses 'do-overs', these misapplications cannot be ignored or tolerated."

According to the rules, a shot clock malfunction problem has to be corrected within the shot clock period in which it occurred. However, in this case, a new shot clock period had begun when the throw-in by ISU took place and it was too late to cancel the basket.

Concerning the game clock, the rules state that a game clock malfunction must be corrected in the half or period in which it occurred. So, the officials could have corrected the time at any point within the period.

The officials needed to determine the correct time to be placed on both clocks based on those rules and resume play at the point of interruption, which is where the ball was when the officials stopped play. When an official has definite information relative to the malfunction problem and the time involved, they are permitted to correct the problem, but they are not permitted to ignore play that has occurred and start over, the league said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press