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`Suspended' Referee Will Work USC-Arizona Game

September 23, 2006|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

Just when you thought the controversy over last week's Oklahoma-Oregon game might subside, it was confirmed Friday that the referee who was suspended after that game is scheduled to work tonight's USC-Arizona game in Tucson.

The argument against referee Dave Cutaia blowing his whistle in Tucson?

Arizona is coached by Mike Stoops, brother of Bob, whose Oklahoma team suffered a 34-33 loss to Oregon that created a mini-furor in college football and led to the suspension of a Pacific 10 officiating and instant replay crew.

According to Pac-10 associate commissioner Jim Muldoon, the one-game suspension for members of last week's field crew had to be staggered throughout the season so the conference had enough officials to cover its games.

"We said we were going to suspend them for a game," Muldoon said. "We didn't say the next game."

Muldoon says he understands why having Cutaia on the crew working a game involving Mike Stoops might raise concerns.

"There was probably ways to avoid it," Muldoon said. "We probably didn't think it was necessary to avoid it. It's another way to say we have confidence in the official."

Muldoon said Cutaia was not directly involved in the mistakes made late in Oklahoma-Oregon. He said Cutaia is one of the league's top officials.

"He did nothing wrong," Muldoon said. "He is, though, the captain of the crew."

Replay official Gordon Riese, who also received a one-game suspension, was granted a leave of absence for the rest of this season. Riese upheld the field call that ruled Oregon legally recovered an onside kick with a minute left in the game. Oregon retained possession and scored the game-winning touchdown.

The Pac-10 suspended the crew Monday after determining an Oregon player had touched the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards. Oklahoma should have retained possession and probably would have run out the clock for a six-point victory.

The rest of last week's crew included umpire Dennis Angel, head linesman Dan Antonietti, line judge Manuel Alonzo, side judge Dave Curschman, field judge Dan Spriesterbach and back judge Steve Hudson.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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