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Mountain West reverses course, says Webb shot should’ve counted

See James Webb's disputed buzzer-beater against Colorado State

The Boise State men's basketball team thought a 3-pointer by junior forward Webb had won them the game. But officials later ruled it invalid, and BSU went on to lose 97-93 in double overtime.
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The Boise State men's basketball team thought a 3-pointer by junior forward Webb had won them the game. But officials later ruled it invalid, and BSU went on to lose 97-93 in double overtime.

The Mountain West finally came to the same conclusion the rest of the nation did: James Webb III’s 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime should have counted Wednesday, and Boise State should have won.

However, “NCAA Men’s Basketball Playing Rule 5, Section 5 does not allow a protest to be filed or the result of the game to be overturned,” so the Broncos’ 97-93 defeat in double overtime will stand. Friday’s statement by the conference was its third on the matter, including the officials’ statement Wednesday night. A review of the NCAA rule book says protests are not allowed, however, it does not mention a game’s result cannot be overturned.

On Friday afternoon, Boise State said it had been in contact with the conference over a discrepency in the timer the officials used on the replay and the actual game clock in the arena. In a statement, the school said “while a formal protest is not permissible based on NCAA rulebook, Boise State is ready exhaust every resource it has to getting this right.”

The conference said officials made the right call based on the available information, but the video was not delivered at full speed from the production truck. Boise State coach Leon Rice addressed the media Thursday, hopeful the Broncos would retroactively get the win, though realizing it was a long shot.

MOUNTAIN WEST STATEMENT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After further extensive analysis in conjunction with DVSport over the past 24 hours, the Mountain West has determined there was in fact a confirmed discrepancy between the rate at which the embedded digital stopwatch advanced and the rate at which the game clock regressed during the instant replay review. The game officials correctly administered the play and, based upon the available video evidence and timing data at their disposal, made the correct decision to disallow the basket. However, they were unknowingly viewing video not delivered at full speed from the production truck.

While some potential latency in the game clock speed vs. the embedded digital stopwatch feed was identified during the initial review process, the Mountain West was assured by DVSport that the stopwatch in the replay system was synchronized with the video and that the elapsed time of 1.2 to 1.3 seconds was accurate. Subsequent to yesterday’s announcement, the Mountain West and DVSport continued to investigate in the interest of further clarity – including removal of the high resolution video file from the instant replay system and its shipment to DVSport headquarters for further analysis. Multiple live and replay video angles captured by the replay systems were analyzed, and the replay angle used by the officials was re-enacted in comparison. The embedded stopwatch and game clock were compared on each of the video angles. Hand-timing was utilized earlier today to re-confirm timing outcomes.

The continued investigation has now concluded the one replay angle from the Opposite Baseline Camera that was utilized by the game officials was playing at just under full speed when aired by television and subsequently ingested by the replay system. Thus, the embedded stopwatch outpaced the video and led to a false reading.

Additional tests were conducted setting the digital DVSport Stopwatch to the live version of the Opposite Baseline Camera, and those tests showed the DVSport Stopwatch to be accurate and counting down at the same rate as the game clock above the basket. It had also been theorized the DVSport Stopwatch was faster than the game clock in the review clip released yesterday because DVSport was capturing video at 30 frames per second when the TV broadcast was sending a 60 frame per second signal. That theory is not correct. The DVSport system adjusts automatically to capture the video at whatever frame rate the video signal is broadcast.

Finally, the additional analysis also re-measured the timing of the release of the shot by the Boise State player. The outcome of this subsequent review determined the Boise State player most likely released the shot just prior to the 0.8 second threshold and thus the shot should have counted.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Playing Rule 5, Section 5 does not allow a protest to be filed or the result of the game to be overturned.

On a related note, this investigation has discovered a gap in national instant replay protocol which DVSport will be addressing immediately. A new policy will be established with all conferences using DVSport Replay to ensure the DVSport Stopwatch is utilized only on video angles captured live. The video of the Boise State-Colorado State play will be utilized as a teaching tool for all game officials, replay technicians, and television providers to avoid similar pitfalls in the future.

Below is the video the Mountain West released Thursday, showing what the officials saw:

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