ACC suspends officials, Shakeel Rashad

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
5:30
PM ET
The ACC announced a series of suspensions Monday:
  • North Carolina freshman linebacker Shakeel Rashad has been suspended one game for his dangerous collision with Duke receiver Conner Vernon during a substitution in the second quarter Saturday night. In addition, head linesman Tyrone Davis and side judge Angie Bartis have been suspended one game for missing the call.
  • The entire officiating crew in the Florida State-Miami game will receive letters of reprimand, while crew chief and referee David Epperley has been suspended for one game for failure to properly administer the 10-second runoff rule at the end of the first half.

Rashad appeared to intentionally nail Vernon while running onto the field from the sideline but was not flagged. North Carolina coach Larry Fedora defended Rashad during his Monday news conference, saying, "“I promise [you], there was none of, ‘Hey, let me run into this guy and that will stop the play before it gets started,’” Fedora said. “There was no malice at all.”

Later Monday, Rashad issued a statement, apologizing for the hit.

"I want to apologize to Duke’s Conner Vernon for running into him during Saturday’s game," the statement reads. I was in a hurry to get on the field and focused on where I was going. I have been playing football for most of my life and I have never been involved in that type of incident. I did not mean to run into him and I’m glad he was not hurt. He’s a great receiver and I wish him the best."

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Sunday he was "speechless" about what happened.

“It was full speed, and there was no intent to avoid," Cutcliffe said. "People have seen it, you've seen it on television, I've just never seen anything quite like it. ... I don't know, I'm kind of speechless about it."

As for the crew working the Florida State-Miami game, they announced the half had ended after a Florida State penalty because of the 10-second runoff rule. Miami started running into the locker room before the officials realized they had made a mistake because Florida State had a timeout remaining.

"They were running off the field, and I screamed at him that I had a time out and they can't take [the 10 seconds] off," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday during his weekly press conference. "That's why I saved the timeout for penalty situations like that. You can do that. That's a rule. Finally, they had to bring them back."

When asked if he had ever seen anything like that before, Fisher said, "No. But luckily they got it right and listened. Everybody makes mistakes.

"I don't want to be an official. They've got a tough job. But they have to do their job."

There also were questionable offensive pass interference calls against Florida State made in that game, but the ACC made no mention of those in its release.

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