Big Ten: Robbie Caldwell

Last week, a few reports out of Tennessee stated that Vanderbilt received "some admission of error" from the Big Ten regarding a penalty call at the end of the Vanderbilt-Northwestern game on Sept. 4.

A Big Ten officiating crew flagged Vanderbilt safety Jay Fullam for a high hit on Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa. The penalty gave Northwestern a first down and allowed Persa to run out the clock to secure a 23-21 victory. The Tennessean reported that an apology from the Big Ten was issued to the SEC office.
"What good does it do?" Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell said. "It's amazing to me. … The same people will be working the games. They'll be rolling on, bottom line."

Well, according to the Big Ten, there was no apology issued to the SEC regarding the call. The Big Ten issued a statement Sunday regarding the situation on its website.
"In response to isolated media reports late last week suggesting that the Big Ten Conference had issued an apology related to an officiating call in the Northwestern-Vanderbilt game on September 4, the Big Ten Conference would like to make clear that it supports judgment calls explicitly intended to protect the health and safety of student-athletes. NCAA football playing rules include specific language that encourages officials, when in doubt, to apply the rules to protect the athletes and the conference fully supports them in these instances. Contrary to isolated media reports, the conference did not issue an apology related to any officiating call in the Northwestern-Vanderbilt game."

Both Persa and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said officials made a correct call, according to the new policies to protect player safety.

I still think it was a tough call to make, given the situation, but the Big Ten clearly stands by the men in stripes.

And really, would the Big Ten ever apologize to the SEC about anything? Please.
Northwestern will kick off the 2010 season under the lights as the team's opener at Vanderbilt has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. local time).

The SEC announced that Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast will televise the game, which will also be available on ESPN3.com. Vanderbilt and ESPN originally wanted to move the opener to Sunday, Sept. 5, but Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald nixed it, saying he didn't want a short week of preparation following the opener. Northwestern had been willing to move the game to Sept. 2 (Thursday) or Sept. 3 (Friday), but it will remain as scheduled on a Saturday.

Northwestern now has two scheduled night games this fall, as it host Purdue on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Wildcats lost their only night game in 2009, falling 37-34 at Syracuse.

The night kickoff should help Northwestern's players, who aren't as accustomed to the heat Nashville can have at that time of year. Vanderbilt will be playing its first game under interim head coach Robbie Caldwell, who takes over for the retiring Bobby Johnson.

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