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Ridley’s suspension shows BYU subject to CFO decisions

First Published      Last Updated Oct 30 2013 05:02 pm

When it comes to disciplinary matters and college football, Utah answers to the Pac-12 and Utah State answers to the Mountain West. To which governing body does independent BYU answer?

The suspension of receiver Skyler Ridley for the first half of Friday's 37-20 win over Boise State showed that BYU answers to the Big 12, basically. But it is a bit more complicated than that.

The Big 12 officials belong to a group called College Football Officiating, LLC. The CFO is an entity created by the NCAA and College Commissioners Association (CCA) to oversee football officiating.

I asked BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday to explain how Ridley's suspension came to be, and here's how he laid it out:

Against Houston, Ridley peeled back on a play and blocked a Houston linebacker helmet-to-helmet who was in pursuit of the ball-carrier. Ridley wasn't flagged for the hit during the game.

However, BYU has an agreement with the Big 12 to officiate games where the contract calls for BYU to choose, or assign, the officials. Every play in every such game is reviewed by the Big 12's supervisor of officials.

That supervisor's staff caught the block, which they decided was targeting and should have been flagged, and notified BYU on the Monday night before the Boise game that the supervisor was sending it on to the national supervisor of officials, Rogers Redding. Redding's title is NCAA coordinator of officials.

Redding's office notified BYU on Tuesday that Ridley should be suspended for the first half of Friday's game, because the infraction came in the second half of the Houston game.

I asked Mendenhall if BYU had the right to appeal the suspension. He said he didn't ask, because he watched the play and agreed with the decision.

"I saw the play and I thought it was targeting," Mendenhall said. Ridley "peeled back and he hit a guy really, really hard. And [it was] courageous. The guy saw him coming, but it was face to face, and the guy was a lot bigger than Skyler, so it was a courageous play, but with the rules now, it qualified for that. In my opinion, I still think 15 yards, during the game, is a severe enough penalty, just after going through it, but no appeal [from BYU] because it fit within what the rule says."

I posted video of Mendenhall's 10-minute press briefing Monday, but if you didn't have the time to watch the whole thing, here are some of the more interesting comments from the session …

Opening statement:

"After the film and watching Boise State, a really good football game, offensively, defensively and we continue to gain momentum. I think our team is improving. I think they are more optimistic than ever. The bye week comes at a really good time to heal. Nice to get a few extra days, looking at Wisconsin. We are looking forward to a great game in Madison, on a big stage, in front of a lot of people. And I think our team is looking forward to it.

I like where the bye week has come, and I think it is setting up nicely for our stretch run in the next four games, but more importantly, our next game."

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