Error Costs An Official His Pac-10 Replay Job: Gordon Riese has been diagnosed with depression since a botched ruling in the UO-Oklahoma game

Error Costs An Official His Pac-10 Replay Job

Gordon Riese has been diagnosed with depression since a botched ruling in the UO-Oklahoma game

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

JOHN HUNT
The Oregonian

As the Pacific-10 Conference discusses improvements to its instant replay equipment for 2007, one decision already has been made: Gordon Riese will not be using it.

Riese, the embattled instant replay official who was in the booth during the Oklahoma-Oregon game Sept. 16 in Eugene, got a call from the conference last week with official confirmation.

“I was told I was not wanted in the replay booth,” said Riese, who said he received death threats after the Ducks’ 34-33 win after a botched ruling on an onside kickoff snatched a victory away from the Sooners.

Replays that reached the television audience but not Riese’s monitor showed that not only did Oregon illegally touch the ball before the kick went 10 yards but also — and this part was not reviewable — that Oklahoma recovered it.

The Sooners went on to finish the regular season 10-2 and still ponder what might have been. Riese went on suspension and still is haunted by the experience.

Riese, who said he has been diagnosed with depression in the wake of the controversy, will stay on the Pac-10 payroll as a technical assistant — a position he has held the past two seasons in addition to working the replay booth. Technical assistants, who receive $350 per game, review videos of games to evaluate the performance of officials.

As for the Pac-10, it is exploring upgrades to the non-human element of the instant replay system. Officials have had preliminary talks and will have more meetings in the next two months about improvements to the XOS Technologies equipment that was used in the Pac-10, Big 12, Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences last season.

“It will be interesting to see what they come up with,” Riese said. “I suppose they could look at the things we can get into, as far as replay is concerned.”

Such as Oklahoma’s recovery of the onside kick. Riese saw that Sooners running back Allen Patrick had recovered the ball, unseen by the on-field officials, but rules prohibited him from relaying that information to referee Dave Cutaia.

Verle Sorgen, the Pac-10 coordinator of officials, said that topic might be brought up at next week’s meetings of the NCAA football rules committee, but he doesn’t expect any changes in what can be reviewed on replay.

The system, Sorgen said, worked well last season “except for that one glitch.” Besides, the main focus at the meetings will be revising the controversial clock rules adopted last season.

The Pac-10 plans to bring all instant replay officials, who receive $400 per game, back for retraining before the 2007 season. It also will go to four-man booths for every game. The fourth position, used in some games last season (but not in the Oklahoma-Oregon game), is a “recorder” to keep track of down and distance.

Otherwise, changes to the instant replay system probably will involve equipment. The XOS Replay in use last season featured a TiVo-like hard drive, as well as the ability to bookmark points in the video for replay and to page on-field officials.

Kristina Brand, the director of video and Internet operations for the Pac-10 and a former replay technician at Oregon State football games, said the conference has a wish list of features for its 2007 equipment, but cost and programming constraints will factor into the final decision.

Any major improvements such as high-definition equipment and multistream capabilities appear unlikely, as they would include the added costs of HD cameras and the extra cabling for more video feeds. So any upgrades probably would involve ease-of-use issues.

Riese said he would be in favor of an equipment upgrade. As for the phone call, he wasn’t planning on coming back, anyway — doctor’s orders.

“So it turned out OK,” Riese said.

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One Comment on “Error Costs An Official His Pac-10 Replay Job: Gordon Riese has been diagnosed with depression since a botched ruling in the UO-Oklahoma game”

  1. […] If Mr. Sorgen ever gets tired of spinning officiating mistakes, he sounds like he’s got a real future in Washington, D.C. (h/t Oklahoma Sooners & NFL Blog) […]