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Despite a dogged appeal from athletic director Mike O'Brien and football coach Tim Beckman, the University of Toledo's 33-30 overtime loss at Syracuse on Saturday will not be overturned.
A day after O'Brien asked him to request that the Big East vacate Syracuse's victory and award a win to Toledo due to an error by officials in the fourth quarter, Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher announced yesterday that the final result cannot be changed, per NCAA rules.
"Since the conclusion of the Toledo-Syracuse game, I have been in communication with Big East commissioner John Marinatto along with Rogers Redding, secretary-rules editor of the NCAA football rules committee," Steinbrecher said in a statement. "By rule once the game is declared over the score is final and there is no recourse to reverse an outcome.
Rule 1, Section 1, Article 3, Paragraph b of the 2011 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations states, "When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final. By rule, once the game is declared over the score is final and there is no recourse to reverse an outcome."
In a statement released yesterday evening, O'Brien accepted the ruling and ended his appeal.
"While we are obviously disappointed for the student-athletes, coaches and fans that an officiating error played a role in the outcome of our football game at Syracuse, we accept the ruling from the Big East and the NCAA Football Rules Committee that the final outcome of the game cannot be reversed," O'Brien said. "We appreciate the efforts of those who looked into this matter. We consider the matter closed and now look forward to the remainder of the Rocket football season."
With 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman appeared to miss an extra-point attempt that put the Orange ahead 30-27, but the Big East officials on the field ruled that the kick went through the uprights. The ensuing review from Big East replay official Buddy Ward confirmed the ruling on the field.
The extra point proved to be crucial in the Orange's victory because Toledo drove down the field on its next possession and Ryan Casano booted a 20-yard field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime tied at 30.
UT ended up losing in the extra session after throwing an interception on its first possession, and Krautman kicked the game-winning field goal.
Had Krautman's earlier extra-point attempt, which appeared to curl just in front of the left upright, been ruled as a miss, then Casano's kick would have given the Rockets (1-3) a one-point victory.
"I share the frustration and regret with our Toledo coaches, student-athletes, administration and supporters of the Rockets football program," Steinbrecher said. "Immediately following the game, Bill Carollo, coordinator of officials of the Midwest Football Officials Alliance (MAC, Big Ten, Missouri Valley), reviewed the play and was in contact with Big East Coordinator of Officials, Terry McAuley, and both officials agreed that the ruling on the field and replay official both failed to make the correct call.
"As disappointing as this situation is, we are confident that proper action will be taken by the Big East Conference."
Because the Big East has sole jurisdiction over the review and discipline of its officials, it is the hope of MAC leadership that appropriate measures will be taken with the officials in question, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The Big East said it stands by the statement released Saturday night from McAuley, who admitted the on-field officials and replay official blew the call, and said it will take no further action.
UT coach Tim Beckman was still adamant yesterday that the Rockets should have been declared the rightful victors.
"The call was wrong," Beckman said. "This is an opportunity for somebody to say, 'Yeah, we made a mistake.' The final outcome of the football game should have been 30-29."
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, however, was ready to put this saga behind him.
"I stick by the comments of the Big East, which are true. I give them credit for standing up," Marrone said. "I do understand where Toledo is coming from. It's just a shame that it happened, but everything has to move on."
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.