Reprimand for Fiesta Bowl Referee Kevin Williamson for overturned touchdown/Targeting rule

Reprimand for Fiesta Bowl Referee Kevin Williamson for overturned touchdown/Targeting rule

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David Frank started this petition to NCAA and

During the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Playoff Semifinal game against Ohio State and Clemson there was an incorrect overturned call in a critical part of the game that could've drastically changed the outcome.

Late in the 3rd quarter it was ruled that Trevor Lawrence of Clemson completed a pass to Justyn Ross, which was then stripped by Ohio State's Jeffery Okudah, picked up by Jordan Fuller, and returned for an Ohio State touchdown. The play was then reviewed to determine if there was infact a completion.

During replay, both slow-mo and live, it was obvious that Ross met the rules of a completion, which are quoted below:

Per the NCAA Football Rules:

Catch, Interception, Recovery ARTICLE 3. a. To catch a ball means that a player:

1. Secures control of a live ball in flight before the ball touches the ground, and

2. Touches the ground in bounds with any part of his body, and then

3. Maintains control of the ball long enough to enable him to perform an act common to the game, i.e., long enough to pitch or hand the ball, advance it, avoid or ward off an opponent, etc., 

Ross did meet these qualifications as you could clearly see that he firmly maintained the ball, began to bring it to his body, and took multiple steps before Okudah knocked the ball loose.

Referee Kevin Williamson's reasoning for overturning the fumble was that he saw the "ball move" when it was infact Okudah causing the ball to move after Ross had met the qualifications for a catch.

It is common knowledge that there must be INDISPUTABLE evidence for an on-field call to be overturned and there was no such evidence. Williamson's gross negligence in a game of this magnitude is unacceptable and he must be held accountable!

As for Ohio State's Shaun Wade being ejected for targeting in the 2nd quarter; changes need to be made to the targeting rule. It was not Wade's intent to cause harm to Trevor Lawrence. He did not launch himself at Lawrence's head, he was simply trying to make a tackle and as Lawrence went to avoid contact their helmets collided.

Ohio State was leading 16-0 when the targeting call occurred thus giving Clemson the ball back and then their first eventual score. Without that call Ohio State would've got the ball back with the game well in control. That hit was just a matter of circumstance and there was nothing malicious about it.

Player safety is of the upmost importance but there needs to be more precise wording and different outcomes depending on the type of targeting call. There was no reason Wade should've been ejected from the biggest game of his life just because of an accident. Football is a high-speed, contact sport and sometimes there is unintentional contact. 

Safety can remain a priority without changing the game of football but people can't be afraid to sit down and come to a compromise. If negligence like this is allowed to continue then the game of football itself WILL be compromised.

 I'm not solely blaming the referees for the outcome of the game but their negligence could very well HAD changed the outcome of the game but we will never know. Us fans will never know and most importantly the players. The players that fought hard and won 13 games, earning the right to play in that semifinal and a chance at a national championship. Some of those players will never get that chance again, some fans may never be able to witness that again. All this possibly because the decision of one person, Kevin Williamson.

As I stated before, changes MUST be made

 

 

 

 

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