September 12, 2011
There was all kinds of commotion going on in Las Vegas sports books Saturday night regarding the final score posted USC-Utah game. USC returned a blocked kick for an apparent touchdown in the final seconds while leading 17-14, but was ruled not a score by the officials because USC was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for running on the field before the play was over. Final Score: USC 17, Utah 14.
That was good enough for the sportsbooks. The wire services sent over the final score, it was confirmed and then posted just like any other game.
But two hours later, the Pac-12 conference and USC reviewed the play and overturned the decision made on the field and allowed the score making the 'official' final score 23-14. For bettors who laid 8 ½-points with USC, this was a god-send, or so it appeared. This is when the uproar started with USC bettors.
It is a rare occurrence to have this rule reffered to, but most sportsbooks have rules posted that state exactly what the policy is on overturned initial decisions. For most, that policy is to not recognize overturned decisions and only recognize what decision was made on the field of play. MGM Resorts, Wynn Las Vegas and Caesars properties opted to stay with their initial posted score of 17-14.
After consulting with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, a few other sportsbooks did un-post the initial score and re-posted it 23-14. Coast Resorts, South Point, Station Casinos and the Las Vegas Hilton all went that route and bit the bullet of already paying out some on Utah and then paying all of the USC -8.5 and -9 sides.
For those who cashed in on Utah during the two-hour window, they should consider themselves lucky. Those who had Utah that didn't cash on the game because of not getting to the book in time along with the others who bet USC and didn't get paid makes it the bad beat of the year. Either way, GCB is sure to get plenty of calls from upset customers.
Station Casinos got such an outcry from their bettors on each side of the game that they eventually decided to pay both sides, not including those that laid the early number of -10 and -9 ½ with USC.
The real question is this entire matter is why the Pac-12 commissioner was reviewing a play at 10:30 in the evening when that score in question had no bearing on the outcome of the game? USC won and Utah lost, that should have been all that mattered.
When looking at what the universal point spread around the world was, the decision by the conference should raise some eye-brows with the NCAA. Would someone with the authority to change a score do so because of the spread? Doubtful.
It may be a mere coincidence and someone just doing their due diligence to have the new celebration rules be interpreted properly, but nevertheless, it is kind of suspicious.
If the score had been 34-14, with the spread not in question, would there have been as much dedication into the getting the score correct? Possibly.
And does this now set a precedent for other conferences to follow suit with the power they have over their schools in overturning decisions.
Let's hope it's just an isolated thing that never happens again because if something like this becomes commonplace, sportsbooks will have to protect themselves more which would mean longer delays in posting games.