It’s Official: Some final words on Sugar Bowl

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

I promised a few words about the officiating in LSU’s victory over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Game last week.

There wasn’t much I can comment on other than there appeared to be a play or two where the officiating crew seemed to be confused. But nothing impacted the outcome of the contest.

Late in the fourth quarter LSU was forced to punt. The Oklahoma receiver moved up and caught the ball but didn’t signal for a fair catch. He was instantly hit by an LSU player, causing a fumble, which Oklahoma recovered.

Email newsletter signup

One of the officials threw a flag on the play, apparently ruling interference with the opportunity to make a catch. Now remember the old halo rule requiring a 2-yard space around the receiver is no longer.

After a lengthy discussion, the referee announced there were offsetting fouls, forcing LSU to punt again.

Since Oklahoma had blocked an LSU punt earlier in the game, the ruling could have been a disaster for the Tigers, but they safely got off another punt and were able to hold off the Sooners for the victory.

The officiating crew was from the Big East Conference.

Next week I’ll pass on a summary of which conference’s officials worked which bowl games and compare the number of penalties each crew called.

Hoop season is here. While I freely admit my lack of knowledge about basketball rules, I did seek out and find some interesting facts on a couple of Web sites.

Most fans will watch some high school games during the week, then maybe a college game on TV and possibly a NBA game on the weekend.

The rules of the game at all three levels are significantly different with the main similarities being the court size, basket height and free-throw line distance.

High schools and college men play with the same-sized ball, while women and the NBA use a slightly smaller ball.

The NBA uses a 24-second shot clock, while colleges have a 35-second clock.

The National Federation of High Schools web site ( contained some interesting facts, particularly one concerning the ever-present controversy over the charge/block call.

&uot;There is no doubt that a block/charge call is a difficult call to make. Officials should know the location to the defensive player’s feet to properly call the play.

&uot;If officials referee the defense, it becomes easier but it is still fully possible that an official might not see the portion of the defender’s foot on the boundary line when contact occurs.

&uot;Officials aren’t expected to do anything beyond what they were doing previously. Referee the defense and call the play as they see it. It’s still a judgement call.&uot;

This clarification was brought about by the rule that a defensive player must be in bounds in order to legally block an opponent.

If the player setting the block has one or both feet out of bounds or on the boundary line the player will be called for blocking.

And that’s official.

Al Graning is a former SEC official and former Natchez resident. He can be reached at