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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
LSU AD Bertman criticizes SEC for defending officiating

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU athletic director Skip Bertman sharply criticized the officiating in last Saturday's game at Auburn as well as the Southeastern Conference's subsequent backing of the officials' decisions on two key calls.

"The SEC Office has stood by the officials' calls, and we respectfully but strongly disagree," Bertman said in a statement released by LSU on Tuesday. "We strive for excellence every day in LSU athletics, and we expect the same level of excellence from the officials that are assigned to us by the SEC."

Late in the game, Auburn defensive back Zach Gilbert was flagged for interfering with receiver Early Doucet deep in its own territory in Auburn's 7-3 win over then-No. 6 LSU. The flag was waved off because officials deemed that Eric Brock's tip of the ball made it uncatchable.

Another controversial fourth-quarter call went Auburn's way when LSU's interception on third-and-29 was negated because Daniel Francis was penalized for interference on receiver Courtney Taylor, giving Auburn an automatic first down.

That pass was ruled a catchable ball, and SEC media relations director Charles Bloom said that call also was correct.

The victory helped Auburn climb from No. 3 to No. 2 The AP Top 25 poll, while LSU fell to No. 10.

LSU coach Les Miles complained after the game about both calls.

"There were obviously a number of calls by SEC officials in our game against Auburn that had a dramatic impact on the game," Bertman said. "Coach Miles went through the proper procedure of addressing these calls with the SEC Office and I appreciate the manner in which he has expressed his dissatisfaction with the officials' decisions."