A presumed targeting call against Washington State linebacker Logan Tago was overturned by a "third party" from the Pac-12 on Saturday per Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel.
Despite both the replay booth and Pac-12 command center agreeing that Tago's hit on USC quarterback J.T. Daniels warranted an ejection, the conference's general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs Woodie Dixon dissagreed, overturning the call and keeping Tago in the game.
Dixon is not a "formally-trained official" per Thamel, and officiating experts believe his interference in the replay system "undermines both the Pac-12 officiating credibility and rhetoric surrounding player safety."
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott disputed the criticism on Thursday, claiming Dixon isn't the final voice on targeting-related ejections, but rather one member of a "replay collaboration team."
"Our instant replay supervisor [Bill Richardson] is the ultimate decision maker,” Scott told Yahoo Sports. “The misperception that in this case, the ultimate decision from the command center was made by someone other than the instant replay supervisor is a concern.”
Dixon's decision didn't sit well with replay official Gary McNanna, who was working in the replay booth at USC on Saturday night.
"Both the replay booth and the command center agreed this was a targeting foul, but unfortunately a third party did not agree so the targeting was removed and we went with the ruling on the field of [roughing the passer] with no targeting," McNanna wrote in an internal report. "This didn’t play well on TV. Reversed my stoppage for [targeting] to not [targeting]"
USC defeated Washington State despite Tago's continued presence on the field, overcoming a six-point fourth quarter deficit to win 39-36.