BYU Volleyball Loses on Bizarre Replay After UCLA Coach Makes a Mockery of Sports

If you didn't find the online stream and stay up late to watch the BYU men's volleyball match against UCLA, you missed what is one of the biggest mockeries of sport I can remember ever witnessing. A must-win match for two schools locked in a tie for first place came down to extra points in the fifth set. Josue Rivera served with BYU up 16-15 in the final set ... and all hell broke loose.

Rivera hit an ace. The line judge ruled the ball out, but did so in a strange manner. But the referee overruled and said the ball was in, giving BYU the point and a 17-15 win in the set, and a 3-2 win in the match. After falling down two sets to zero, BYU scored a huge, huge win and inched closer to the MPSF Tournament #1 seed.

Then, "legendary" coach Al Scates took to the floor and argued with the referee for no less than 10 minutes, which it turns out is against the rules for several reasons (get to that in a moment). After the debate, it was ruled the point would be replayed. Since the players had been standing on the court after a long, tough match had reached it's conclusion, and Rivera was cold, he buried the replayed serve into the net. Eventually, UCLA prevailed 20-18 and won the match.

Rules aside, in what sport does a coach get to argue the final, deciding call after the game is declared over, and devoid of video replay the ref reverses his call?

Al Scates was Mike Sanford in this video:

...except for Al Scates, IT WORKED! He stood on the court (UCLA's home court, an important facet) and brow-beat the referee, who had already come off the stand, into replaying the point and continuing the match. (Hat-tip to @paulcherrington for the video reference.) I have never seen anything like it in legitimate sports. It reminded me of, in my many years involved in refereeing/supervising youth sports, when adult coaches try to bully the 15-year-old referees into submission by sheer force. Disgraceful.

For several reasons, BYU's win should have stood and no more points should have been played. Here's why:

Former BYU volleyball player Kevin Sagers gives this insight:

Then, the great men of BYUtv, Robbie Bullough and Jarom Jordan, dug into the volleyball rulebook:

So in short: if the match was over, it was over, UCLA files protest, but in no way can play continue. If the match was NOT over, then UCLA's coach is in rule violation and a point is awarded to BYU, which ends the match.

(And an aside: Why didn't BYU leave the court? Why did they sit there and watch while Scates argued ... and argued ... and argued? If the referee descending from his stand is as official as it sounds -- like when Lehi pitched his tent in the wilderness to signify "this is where we stop and set up camp" -- then the match was over. Why didn't BYU leave the court?)

It will be interesting to see if BYU does protest. The school is always in a hard spot when it comes to stuff like this as it relates to the name of the Church. But in my view, protesting is the proper action. Rules were violated, ignored, and inappropriately applied by the referee and Scates, and UCLA was rewarded. Scates whined until he got his way, and BYU should appeal.

According to Kevin Sagers, if the MPSF hears an appeal and were to rule in BYU's favor, the match would be ruled a no contest, with no win or loss assigned.

Regardless of what happens with tonight's match, the two teams face off again Saturday. A win would be big for BYU anyway, but if UCLA's Friday win stands, then Saturday's match is a must win as it is BYU's final contest in MPSF play.

***UPDATE*** 4/7/2012, 4:35 PM MT

According to the official Twitter account of UCLA Athletics:

After all that was covered above, it seems strange to replay the match at 16-16. The only thing I can think is that the MPSF ruled the initial line judge's call of out on Rivera's serve should stand. (Which doesn't make much sense, since the ref can overrule within the rules.) Last night, the point was replayed at 16-15. So if the ruling is that the initial call of out should stand, play should have proceeded at 16-16 -- which is where the teams will start tonight.

It would be sweet justice to watch BYU win both matches tonight.

***UPDATE*** 4/7/2012, 5:05 PM MT

Aside from all the above rules questions, there is another reason the MPSF's handling of this seems to be against the rulebook:

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