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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Column | Times that refs screwed over Pitt fans

A+referee+holds+a+basketball+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
A referee holds a basketball in the Petersen Events Center.

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and love is in the air. The weather is warm, the birds are chirping and happy couples are all around. But not everyone is so lucky to have someone to hold. What are single sports fans to do this time of year? Who can they turn to? Luckily, they needn’t look very far, as there are few more experienced bedfellows than the referees of our sports. 

When it comes to screwing others, the officials don’t discriminate based on anything. Anytime, any place, just look for the zebra stripes to find someone who’s ready to screw … someone over. 

Unfortunately, they’re not the most tender lovers, as they are known to cheat and lie — and they definitely won’t buy dinner first. 

Football against Wake Forest in 2023

Perhaps revenge for a rather infamous fake slide, Wake Forest was gifted another opportunity against the Panthers this previous season — an opportunity the Demon Deacons cashed in on. 

With just over a minute remaining in the game and down by three, Wake Forest quarterback Santino Marucci threw a backbreaking interception to senior defensive back M.J. Devonshire. The Demon Deacons still had all three timeouts, so Pitt was forced to pick up a first down to win the game. Sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux did just that when he scampered for 11 yards on a read-option. But the refs didn’t see it that way. 

Ensuring he stayed in bounds to drain more of the clock, Veilleux slid down at the 18-yard line. Despite only doing so as a formality, as he could have simply dove forward or fallen down, the refs still decided that the ball would be placed where he began the motion of sliding down, placing the ball at the 16-yard line, one short of a first down.

Ask any Pitt fans watching the game, and they’ll tell you he started his slide at least at the 17, but the referees played the part of any bad partner, bringing up stuff from years ago just to win the day. Sure enough, Wake Forest got the ball back and scored the game-winning touchdown with seven seconds left. 

Women’s volleyball against Nebraska in the 2023 National Semifinals

While the chances of Pitt coming away with a victory at this point in the match were low, that is no excuse for the referees seemingly ignoring the rulebook and ending Pitt’s season on an egregious call.

In set three, down 24-14, Pitt rattled off three straight points, gaining momentum and setting the stage for a comeback — if only to extend its season by one game. 

But after a successful dig by junior setter Rachel Fairbanks, a whistle blew, and Nebraska was awarded the match-winning point when graduate student middle blocker Emma Monks was called for a net violation. Naturally, coach Dan Fisher challenged the call, and once the replay was shown, it was painfully obvious the referee made the incorrect call, and only Monks’ hair touched the net — something that the announcers quickly and confidently pointed out is allowed. 

Unfortunately for Pitt, it was not so clear to the refs, and the call was confirmed. The last play of Pitt’s season was a wrong call that, even after the refs reviewed, was not overturned. Even when shown proof, the refs would never admit they were wrong. This sounds like any other bad relationship, and one that the Panthers should be happy to be done with. 

Football against Miami in 2021

Get ready, because this one is a doozy. In what would go down as Pitt’s best football season since 1981, three bad calls against Miami would eventually prove very costly down the line.

After intercepting the Miami quarterback, the Panthers had the ball, down four with seven minutes remaining. Kenny Pickett, in the midst of a record-setting year, began driving the Panthers down the field for the go-ahead score. After completions of 19, 23 and 26 yards, a miscommunication between Jordan Addison and Pickett seemingly resulted in an interception for the Hurricanes — except the ball clearly spun free from the defender’s grasp before he had time to secure it. The referees decided to turn a blind eye, giving Miami the ball on their own 2-yard line.

But what makes this example truly special is that it entails multiple unfortunate calls against the Panthers. Not only was Miami given an undeserved interception, but on the very next play, Pitt was denied a safety. The Miami running back did not make it out of his own end zone before getting tackled, a play that should have given the Panthers two points and forced a free kick from the Hurricanes. Yet again, the officials struck, declaring the tip of the football did make it out of the endzone, allowing Miami to retain possession.

A few plays later, on a critical third-and-four to decide the game, Miami’s tight end leaped for the first down, fumbling the ball backward and out of bounds in the process. This should have brought up fourth down and a Miami punt. Instead, this is where the officiating failures reach new heights, as a video review resulted in the call getting reversed, giving Miami the game-sealing first down.

What makes this truly disgusting is the far-reaching impacts of these three calls. If any one of them went Pitt’s way, there is a good chance they would win the Miami game and finish the year as one-loss Power Five champions with a Heisman-contending quarterback — which sounds like a team deserving of playoff contention.

About the Contributor
Eli Smith, Staff Writer