AMES – Indulge me while I continue to wonder why game officials, regardless of sport, don’t have to be accountable for decisions they make that affect games and betting lines. And no, I’m not saying they’re crooked.
Someday, I want to hear directly from a ref what he or she saw on a specific play. The 18-to-22 year-old student-athletes are accountable after games. They’re front-and-center in interview rooms throughout the country, answering sometimes very tough questions about very tough situations.
But adults actually in charge of making sure games run according to the rules? For some reason, they’re shielded from scrutiny, and that’s not right.
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I asked the Big 12 for clarification why Iowa State’s Jaylin Noel’s long kickoff return to what looked to be around Kansas’ 2-yard line during the second quarter of Saturday’s 28-21 Cyclones loss was brought back to the Jayhawks’ 31-yard line. The series ended with a punt.
Every TV replay I saw showed Noel not even close to the sidelines during what was a momentum-gathering run at a time the Cyclones trailed 14-zip. He clearly was in bounds when a ref started waving hands overhead. Given that, I wanted to know why the run was called back.
No one’s saying that play cost Iowa State the game, although it certainly didn’t help. It was questionable. Fans were buzzing about it. They deserved to know what happened, and so did the players.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell had plenty of questions after Saturday’s 28-21 loss at home against Kansas.
The Big 12 Conference finally got back to me just before the clock turned midnight Saturday with this statement from conference coordinator of officials Greg Burks:
“By rule, when a runner is ruled out of bounds, that judgment is…