Pac-12 reprimands UCLA's Hollins for criticism of the officials

November 19, 2015

The Pac-12 reprimanded UCLA junior linebacker Deon Hollins for his derogatory public comments about the officials that appeared in the media following last Saturday’s football game against Washington State.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Mr. Hollins remarks were a clear violation of the Pac-12 comprehensive restrictions on public comments on officiating and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Hollins criticized the officials for failing to call a holding penalty on the game's decisive play.

“There is a great deal of responsibility that comes with being a football student-athlete in the Pac-12 and at UCLA,” said Hollins after learning of the Pac-12's reprimand.  “Unfortunately, yesterday I spoke out of frustration and knew almost immediately afterwards that my comments were inappropriate.  I expect more of myself and will not let this happen again.”

It is generally understandable that conferences need to keep their house in order, but perhaps a little perspective would be important here.

Hollins did not use any profanity or insulting remarks in his critique, but rather put forth his own subjective view about the non-call in an even-handed matter.

Considering the circumstances of the game, perhaps the Pac-12 should listen to his comments and instead take corrective action over their own officials.

More important than Hollins' purported non-call were two replay booth calls which led to UCLA turnovers.

On both plays, the replay official elected to overturn the calls made on the field, resulting in two turnovers.  However, the replays shown to the television audience failed to show any objective and conclusive evidence that the field calls were incorrect.  Unless the booth officials had some additional camera angles not known to the television audience, the decisions to overturn the calls appeared incorrect.

Hollins' coach, Jim Mora, was uncharacteristically livid on the sidelines throughout much of the second half, largely due to the controversial replay calls.

In a time when student-athletes are taking part in campus protests and seeking to unionize, it is troubling seeing an athletic conference attempting to stifle speech.

Considering that this conference specifically has a horrific reputation for incompetent, flag-happy officials, perhaps it would have been more wise for the Pac-12 to monitor the questionable decisions of its booth officials at the UCLA-Washington State game.

Creating a climate of respect for the officials is important, but the hypocrisy in not upgrading its officiating is by far the greater sin.

By Staff of and news services

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