Editorial: Iowa State fed up with refereeing controversies


ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard

Editorial Board

On Oct. 4, Iowa State was once again in the spotlight due to a controversial call in the Cyclones’ 37-20 loss against Oklahoma State. A call at the end of the first half sparked conversation and anger among ISU fans, and others who watched the play, on social media.

What was more viral than the overturned no-touchdown that gave Oklahoma State a 13-6 lead going into the half was Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard’s postgame interview with reporters.

If we rewind to last to October, 366 days earlier than Oct. 4, ISU coach Paul Rhoads defended Jeremiah George in front of reporters after a call was overturned that George did not recover a fumble late in the game against Texas. Knowing the reprimands that would come, Rhoads, in another fiery speech, defended George and the Cyclones as he asked to how the call could have been possibly overturned.

On Oct. 4, Pollard did the same for Rhoads.

Knowing the fines and reprimands that would come, Pollard channeled his inner Rhoads and stood up for the Cyclones.

“We’ve been on the short end of several controversial calls, and it’s hard to sit idle [and] watch ESPN, Fox [and] other announcers not debate but feel sorry for Iowa State because maybe they’ll be an apology for a call,” Pollard said.

The play came with under 20 seconds left in the first half and the score tied 6-6. Cowboys’ running back Desmond Roland pushed forward but was shown being halted by the collective effort of Kamari Cotton-Moya and Jevohn Miller. The original call was that Roland had not crossed the line. After a review, the referees overturned the call, giving Roland and Oklahoma State the touchdown.

Cue controversy. 

These two instances — the first against Texas last year and now against Oklahoma State — don’t even begin to scratch the surface in refereeing controversies at Iowa State. In the 2012-13 men’s basketball season, after the final regular season Kansas game, a formal apology from the Big 12 was issued saying that there were officiating errors.John Adams, the national coordinator of officiating for the NCAA, also released a statement which said, “It was probably a miss call but was so quick it was hard to say for certain.”

We don’t know at this time what the fine or reprimand will be for Pollard and the Cyclones. What we do know is there is no lack of passion in the athletic department and there’s a lot of courage sitting in the Jacboson Building.

Rhoads did his best to bring to light the referring issues against Iowa State last year. Pollard did it again during the weekend. Either way, Iowa State is tired of being pitied for getting the short end of the stick.

There comes a point when apologies will no longer suffice. There are obvious missed calls all over the nation every week in every sport, but the sheer volume of admitted mistakes and missed calls that have been made to the detriment of Iowa State have made the topic much more personal.