Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And we pause now for this message

You're losing this one.

Last night at an NCAA women's basketball game between the Lady Vols and the Rutgers women's team, there was an alternate reality, parallel universe moment as the game clock apparently paused (hiccuped was the way an announcer described it) in the last two tenths of a second, leading to the enforcement of a foul that happened during that parallel universe time against Rutgers, who thought the game was over. The pause of a clock during two tenths of a second? Yeah, that probably does mean two tenths of a second went by, huh?

Before the clock malfunctioned, Rutgers was ahead by a point and in other universes where clocks are supposed to tick off the time in an orderly fashion, the game would have been over. But the officials down in Tennessee huddled and decided that alternate universe time applied and the Tennessee player made both baskets on her foul and Tennessee won by one point.

You can read about it here. Just so you know, I'm in the awkward position of being a fan of both teams, but this time I'm on Rutgers' side. They were down by 11 points at the half and came back to lead most of the second half. And Rutgers beat Connecticut earlier this week, a number one team. Last night Tennessee was at number one. This was, undoubtedly, a critical game.

Unfortunately, time was not on Rutgers' side. And none of the officials seemed prepared to handle the glitch. One of the ESPN game announcers said the clock is run by the referees from a device in their pocket.

The clock never moved again after the Tennessee player made her two baskets. When the players took the court, it stayed at two tenths of a second (".02"). The game was called over and the referees left the court before the Rutgers coach could do much about any of it. Because according to the rules, once the officials leave the court the score is approved and their jurisdiction has ended. (Rule 2, Article Four, Section IV).

That's a disgrace to the officiating at that level of play after all the hard work these players put in.

After the game, the Lady Vols' coach Pat Summit said she was unaware of any issues with the clock. Rutgers' coach Vivian Stringer discussed what remains a tainted win in this article.