Kiffin fined, McDonald suspended

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
9:32
AM ET
USC lost a four-hour, triple-overtime game to Stanford on Saturday, so perhaps there should be no surprise that the aftermath also is going into overtime.

USC coach Lane Kiffin was fined $10,000 for multiple comments criticizing the officiating in Saturday's game, the Pac-12 announced Monday night.

Also, the conference announced that safety T.J. McDonald was suspended for the first half of the Trojans' game against Colorado on Friday for a hit on Stanford receiver Chris Owusu in the fourth quarter.

From the ESPN Los Angeles story:
Kiffin, the Trojans' second-year head coach, was upset about the way the end of regulation in the classic Coliseum game was handled, among other disputed instances. He has said he was promised by side judge Brad Glenn that he'd be awarded a timeout if it was ruled that receiver Robert Woods was tackled inbounds with one second left in the game.

He was not, and he said in his postgame press conference following USC's 56-48 triple-overtime loss that he was "extremely disappointed" with the officiating. He then said Sunday that he was "basically lied to" by the Pac-12 officials.

Kiffin's comments didn't please commissioner Larry Scott.

“The Pac-12 has specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating, and this prohibition specifically includes comments that create doubts about the credibility of the conference’s officiating program,” Scott said in a statement. “The conference expects each Pac-12 coach to adhere to our standards of conduct and to conduct himself or herself in a manner which will reflect credit on the institution and the conference.”

Kiffin also quibbled with the penalty on McDonald. The conference office obviously wants to make sure that Kiffin, McDonald and other coaches know the right call was made, and that leading with the head for a high hit on an opponent -- even though McDonald's hit was on his shoulder pads -- is going to have ramifications. From the conference's statement:
“While Mr. McDonald was appropriately penalized on the field, I have deemed it necessary to add a half-game suspension,” said Scott. “This process was part of our weekly review of all targeting and unnecessary roughness hits.

“Mr. McDonald had been previously warned about illegal hits above the shoulders on defenseless opponents. In order to protect our student-athletes, it is imperative that we enforce these penalties for the safety of the game.”

When there is a foul called for initiating contact on the head/neck area of a defenseless opponent that does not result in a player disqualification, NCAA football rules specifically call for a video review by the conference office for possible additional sanctions before the next scheduled game.

One would think USC will be able to endure the loss of McDonald for a half at 1-8 Colorado.

Here's a statement from Kiffin on the suspension of McDonald and his own fine.
"We respectfully disagree with the suspension imposed on T.J. McDonald. He made a bang-bang play and his intent was not to hurt the receiver or launch his body at the receiver or lead with his helmet. If you watch the hit in real time, we feel it is impossible to competitively play that play any differently.

"T.J. is a tremendous player and leader for our team, and he has our full support. I know he felt badly about being penalized and the impact it had in the game.

"As for my reprimand and fine, after numerous conversations with the conference office, we have agreed to disagree. As I have been saying the past two days, we have moved on from last week's game and we are preparing for a very challenging conference game this Friday at Colorado."

And here's a statement from McDonald.
"I accept my penalty and I apologize to my teammates, to our Trojan fans and to the Stanford team. I'm disappointed that I can't be on the field with my teammates during the first half of this Friday's game, but I know they will do a great job without me.

"I was not purposefully trying to hurt the receiver. As I said after the game, I will figure out a way to play physically and still stay within the rules."

Ted Miller | email

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12