The Big 12 conference released a statement this afternoon acknowledging that the second-quarter error by the chain crew and field officials which was first publicized by Bring on the Cats was, in fact, an error.
The conference acknowledged that following the 10-yard holding penalty which moved Oklahoma State back to their own 45, the chains were "mistakingly set" for the yard-to-gain.
Big 12 supervisor of officials Walt Anderson said, "Accurracy [sic] and adherence to Conference policies and officiating mechanics are vital to the proper administration of the rules in all games." He went on to add, "Disciplinary actions will be addressed with both the field officials and chain crew."
We may never know what those disciplinary actions are, or the conference may announce them. What's important is accountability, and that the on-field officials are held responsible for their performance. We at Bring on the Cats would like to make this abundantly clear: we do not feel that the mistake cost Kansas State a win. It may have; alternatively, Oklahoma State may have simply gone for it on fourth down, converted, and continued on to score. We have no way of knowing, and it's not important. What has happened has happened, and we most certainly wish to be clear that Oklahoma State's exceptional performance on defense during the first 20 minutes of the second half had far more to do with Kansas State losing yesterday than a bad call by the officials. We don't want to take away from that. Oklahoma State did what it needed to do, on the field and within the rules, to win that football game.
Bad calls affect every team in this league; indeed, one can argue that a bad call in one Big 12 game affects all ten Big 12 teams in the end. If this conference is to regain its stature in the college football world, the conference must aspire to excellence. Fans of all Big 12 schools should demand this, even when it's not their team that's affected.
To that end, we call on all media devoted to covering the Big 12 to join us. When there are bad calls, let's all beat the drum. If you're a neutral party, investigate and cover the issue. If you're a single-team site and those errors benefit your team, speak up and acknowledge them (as many Oklahoma State fans did indeed do last night and today, for which we thank them). If they're in another game, stand up and object.
Yes, even if they're against Texas or Oklahoma. Let's stop eating each other when it comes to this.
Demand excellence. All ten teams in this league deserve that, from the on-field officials, from the conference administration, and from the conference's media partners. Stop settling for less. Set aside your differences and demand that this league be more than the sum of its parts. And if we don't notice, make us aware.
We will fight. Because this has to stop.