Pac-12 clears Cal's Chris McCain to play due to replay failure

September 3, 2013

The Pac-12 Conference announced that due to a failure in the replay process, California defensive lineman Chris McCain will be allowed to play during the entirety of this week’s game against Portland State.

McCain was called for a Roughing the Passer and Targeting penalty in the fourth quarter of the Golden Bears’ game against Northwestern on Saturday, and by rule, was ejected from the game and disqualified for the first half of Cal’s next game.

The new rule is aimed at increasing player safety, but already has been blasted by numerous critics after just one week. However, McCain was able to avoid a disqualification from next week's game because of two reasons: (1) the Targeting penalty was incorrectly called, and (2) there was a technical failure when game officials failed to review the replay.

In other words, the play in question was not actually reviewed after the replay official was made aware that McCain had been ejected.

Because the Targeting penalty was not reviewed at the time, the Pac-12 Conference had the authority to review the play and determined that McCain should have been reinstated. The review confirmed that the Roughing the Passer penalty was properly enforced.

Under NCAA Rules, ejections for Targeting that are confirmed by replay are not reviewable by the Conference or NCAA. However, this circumstance provided a very narrow exception because the ejection was not actually confirmed by replay.

The Pac-12 discussed the matter with the National Coordinator of Officiating and both parties agreed that under this limited exception, the Conference should reinstate McCain.  The Conference also disciplined the replay crew for the breakdown in the process.

The problem for Cal, of course, is that the Pac-12's help on this matter is too little, too late.

McCain is one of Cal's better defensive players who was unjustly removed from a very competitive game during crunch time.  The Bears certainly could have used him on the field for the remainder of the fourth quarter, and had the officials acted with more competence, this whole issue could have been avoided.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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