(Additional links added at 2:37 p.m.)
There will be no overturning the Black Knights' 47-46 win over Lehigh, say league officials.
According to a copy posted on Lehigh's Web site of a statement released by the league, coordinator of officials Mickey Crowley, the ruling is based on the fact that the Internet video equipment at courtside was not designated as an official replay monitor, thus the officials could not use it to review the play in question.
That play, a game-winning shot by Army's Josh Miller, came after the clock had expired, according to reports from media members who have been able to review video of the play.
The league's executive director Carolyn Schlie Femovich apparently agrees with those reports. In that statement, she says, ". . . it appears that the shot left the player’s hand after the clock expired.”
While it was not cited in the statement, there is also an NCAA rule that says once the officials leave the floor, the result is official and cannot be changed. Because of that rule, it seemed little chance of Lehigh's appeal succeeding.
Regrettably, these things happen from time to time, though usually you hear about it happening in some other league. Though not exactly the same circumstances, Duke got a win earlier this season due to a clock screwup at the end of a game. There have been others.
This is not the first time something like this has occurred in the Patriot League. In 1994, Bucknell lost a 99-98 overtime decision to Holy Cross in a regular season game in old Davis Gym under similar circumstances. There was no Internet video back then, but Bucknell used to shoot video of the games for a self-produced cable TV coach's show.
That video was not available to the game officials, but after the game, Bucknell's then director of broadcasting, Bob Behler, who is now the voice of the UMass Minutemen, and I reviewed the tape, using the then-high tech equipment in the football coaches offices at Bucknell, which was capable of slowing video down to a frame by frame view.
A short time after that game, Bucknell installed red lights on top of the backboards in Davis, synced to light up when the clock expired. In the old print version of Hoop Time we ran a picture of them and called them the "Joe DeMayo Memorial Lights", a reference to the ref who missed the call.
That game did not have the same stakes involved as the Army-Lehigh game. It was a regular season contest and even if the outcome had been reversed, the tournament seeding would not have changed.
It is too bad for Lehigh's players, especially the four seniors who careers have been cut short by at least one game. The best that can be hoped for from this incident is that the league adopt a policy mandating the All-Access video feed be set up in a manner that conforms to the NCAA's rules for being an official replay monitor, and that it be designated as such in all games not shown on broadcast or cable television.
That won't give Lehigh another game, but it will help prevent such an occurrence in the future.
Lehigh fans react
PL recognizes error, says Army win stands (Morning Call)
Instant replays are a necessity, not a luxury (Morning Call)
RPI a Really Poor Indicator (Tom Housenick's weekly hoops column in The Daily Item)
The latest from Coach Ralph.com (Ralph Willard's views on spring break, the tournament and the Lafayette game)
Labels: Army, Leh