The supervisor of four of the football officials who worked the Notre Dame-Miami game last week said Tuesday that his officials are standing by a controversial call that might have determined the outcome of the game.
A disputed fumble by Miami at the Notre Dame 1-yard line helped the Fighting Irish to a 31-30 victory that knocked Miami from its No. 1 spot in the college ratings.
The Miami News reported that the official, who was not identified, said the officials “were wrong” about the call. The newspaper said Tuesday it would stand by its story.
The officiating crew was made up of four men from the Collegiate Independents Football Officiating Assn., which supplies officials for nine Eastern teams and Notre Dame, and three from the Southern Independents group, which Miami uses.
Said Art Highland, the supervisor of officials for CIFOA : “I have spoken to all four officials who worked the game, including the official who was solely responsible for the call. In accordance with our long-standing policy, none of my officials have made such a comment or have even talked to a reporter, coach, or any other person about that call, or the game. Furthermore, the official who made the call has reviewed the play and is still confident that he made the correct call.
“It is unfortunate, quite frankly irresponsible, that the alleged quote of a CIFOA official was made public without confirmation,” he said. “Prior to the release, I indicated to several reporters that no CIFOA official had made such a comment nor could they do so under our present policies.”
The play occurred with 7 minutes left in the game and Notre Dame leading, 31-24. On 4th and 7, with the ball on the Notre Dame 11, quarterback Steve Walsh completed a pass to fullback Cleveland Gary, who was tackled at the 1.
As Gary fell, the ball popped loose and Notre Dame linebacker Mike Stonebreaker recovered, ending the Miami drive. Miami argued, however, that the play was over before the ball popped loose and that the Hurricanes should have had a first down.