LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora said he received an apology from the Pac-12 Conference regarding how referees handled the opening coin toss Saturday against Arizona State, but the Pac-12 said no such apology occurred.
It's a classic 'he said-he said' over a coin-toss confusion that led to UCLA's having to kick off to open both halves of its 45-43 Pac-12 victory over the Sun Devils on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.
"I got a call Sunday morning at 8 a.m. from the Pac-12 apologizing for the confusion at the coin toss," Mora said. "It was nice to hear them accept responsibility for it."
Asked if the Pac-12 acknowledged wrong doing, Mora said yes.
"That's what they told me," Mora said. "That's all I can tell you. They apologized and accepted responsibility."
Pac-12 spokesman David Hirsch, however, said late Tuesday afternoon that director of officiating Tony Corrente called Mora on Sunday to discuss what happened at the coin toss, but that "no apology was issued."
"There was no error by the officials," Hirsch said. "Maybe Jim heard 'sorry for the confusion' and thought it was an apology."
UCLA's captains were late for the coin toss, so punter Jeff Locke, who was on the field warming up, went to the middle of the field and won the toss. Locke is a captain but never participates in the coin toss because he also performs kickoff duties and prefers to be warming up that close to kickoff.
He mistakenly chose to kick off instead of defer, which meant the Bruins had to kick off in both halves. Locke told the Los Angeles Times after the game that he tried to change the call to defer, but the referees let the kick call stand.
The other captains arrived at the end of the proceedings, but by then it was too late. A UCLA player who asked for anonymity said he thought the referees were punishing UCLA because the captains showed up late to the coin toss.
"They were mad because our team was still in the tunnel and not on the field so close to kickoff," the player said. "That's the only reason they would do that."