PHILADELPHIA — A controversial ending in an NCAA national semifinal game left many Penn State Lacrosse fans cursing the NCAA and asking for accountability.
The year is 2000 … oh wait this is 2023?
That is where Penn State fans find themselves on a sunny afternoon in Philadelphia as the Nittany Lions were screwed out of an opportunity to reach the National Championship game for the first time in program history.
Penn State Lacrosse once led early in the 1st quarter 4-3 but were trailing by two at the half and for most of the game. Yet, they battled back to take a 15-15 game to sudden death overtime.
Like Ice hockey, lacrosse overtime is one of the most stressful in sports.
Winning the faceoff becomes all the more important, something the Nittany Lions had struggled with throughout the game. But, Penn State had gone punch for punch with No. 1 Duke all afternoon and yet the postgame topic once again came down to officiating.
Duke’s Garrett Leadmon put home a game winning shot halfway through the shot clock to send the Blue Devils to the National Championship.
Immediately Penn State players threw their arms up in the air and the Duke players waited as many expected the referees to make the call that Leadmon was in the crease. After all, most fans in the stadium thought that he was in real time.
Instead, the referee that was farthest away from the play took it upon himself to sprint in full speed and make the call that decided who moved on to the title game.
Why Wasn’t Controversial Goal Reviewed in Penn State Lacrosse Loss?
I thought surely there was a review coming at the very least as it was a game winning goal.
We have learned in other sports that scoring plays especially in late game situations are always reviewable.
However, the referees sprinted for the locker room before most fans even realized what had happened.
Next thing everyone in the stadium knew the replay was being shown up on the video board that showed Leadmon’s foot clearly on the crease line and Lincoln Financial field erupted in boos and beers began to shower the field.
Where were the referees during this time?
That’s right in the locker room already not being held accountable for any of the chaos that they had caused.
I feel heartbroken for Penn State players who had to watch an unjust ending to their season repeatedly on the video board and there was nothing that could be done.
The NCAA came out with a statement that essentially said the only way that a goal can be reviewed is if it was to check the time on the game or shot clock.
Are you kidding me?
Hard to believe the “Sport of the Future” has one of the worst review systems in all of sports, but, here we are.
Checking to see if a player’s foot was on or over the line must be one of the fastest and easiest reviews to check. It isn’t subjective, either he is or isn’t.
In this case the foot was clearly on the line, and it shouldn’t have been a goal. The NCAA seems to find itself in these situations that could have been prevented with just common sense. Let each coach have one challenge per half and a flag that they can use and throw onto the field. Allow for reviews on close calls like we see in literally every other sport in America.
I mean goodness gracious, baseball has a better replay system than Lacrosse!
Even something as simple as all overtime scores are reviewed or anything under 2 minutes. That would have fixed what happened today.
Who is to say whether Penn State would have even scored on the next possession. Maybe Duke gets the stop and comes back down and scores to win it.
Yet, the Nittany Lions will never get that opportunity because it was taken away from them for the refusal to use the most common technology in sports.
The game was exciting from start to finish and could have been a great opportunity to grow the sport. It really is too bad that all anybody will be able to talk about is a poorly officiated call and the inability to review it.
Maybe the sky Cam is useless after all if we can’t use it to get calls right. The level of incompetence and foresight to not predict this situation is why the NCAA is and will always be a joke of an organization.
Have fun in the Supreme Court and it would be a real shame if some of your college basketball money got distributed to the athletes.