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OXFORD, Miss. — The SEC released a statement on Monday evening admitting a mistake in the way it officiated Ole Miss’ loss to Auburn on Saturday, but still punishing Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin in the process.
The league office has fined Kiffin $25,000 for retweeting tweets critical of referees after the Rebels’ loss. That said, the league also said in its statement that it was wrong to not trigger a full review of the controversial kickoff play that seemed to deflect off an Auburn player’s finger for an Ole Miss touchdown with 5:43 left in the fourth quarter.
“The SEC has determined the replay official should have stopped the game for further review of the play,” the statement reads. “In the football officiating replay process every play is reviewed but, when appropriate, the game is stopped for further review. Because the play was not appropriately stopped for further review, the necessary slow-motion view of the play was not viewed by the replay official to determine if the ruling on the field should have been reversed.”
The statement says the SEC communicated these results with Ole Miss. Kiffin referenced such a conversation in a press conference on Monday. Kiffin was critical of the SEC in that press conference, particularly pertaining to how the league hadn’t held itself accountable for the mistake it may have made.
“I asked the side judge ‘Why aren’t they replaying it? Do I need to challenge?'” Kiffin said Monday before the SEC’s statement came out. “He said ‘They’ve already looked at it. There’s nothing there.’ I’m not allowed to say anything about the conversation but I really wish that our fans and players could hear what I was told.”
Kiffin’s fine is not related to that quote. Instead, it has to do with a post Kiffin retweeted Saturday evening that called SEC officiating “a disgrace” and “atrocious.”
Since the SEC announcement about the fine was released, Kiffin has taken to Twitter again, twice making jokes about being fined for being correct.
Ole Miss lost to Auburn, 35-28. At the time of the play in question, Ole Miss led 28-27. Had the play been reviewed properly and overturned in favor of the Rebels, an extra point would’ve given Ole Miss an eight-point lead with 5:43 remaining and at the very least put Ole Miss in a position to force overtime had Auburn scored another touchdown as it went on to do with 1:11 left.