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

impacted.

“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

expectation.”