SEC suspends Florida-Arkansas crew
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)
— The Southeastern Conference has suspended officials from last
weekend’s Arkansas-Florida game after the crew was involved in its second
controversial call of the year.
Referee Marc Curles’ crew called a personal foul on
Arkansas defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard in the fourth quarter as the Gators
were rallying for a 23-20 victory. The league said there was no video evidence
to support the call.
The same group of officials called the LSU-Georgia game
earlier this month, which included a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty the
league said shouldn’t have been called.
“A series of calls that have occurred during the last
several weeks have not been to the standard that we expect from our officiating
crews,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday. “I believe our officiating
program is the best in the country. However, there are times when these actions
must be taken.”
SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom said this is the
first time the league has publicly suspended a football crew like this.
The SEC says the crew will be removed from its next
scheduled assignment Oct. 31 and will not be assigned to officiate as a crew
until Nov. 14.
The league said the crew’s bowl assignments could also be
“The entire crew shoulders responsibility for each play. I
have taken this action because there must be accountability in our officiating
program,” Slive said. “Our institutions expect the highest level of officiating
in all of our sports and it is the duty of the conference office to uphold that