Official under scrutiny also worked UM-OSU in 2008, 2015
The officiating crew that worked the Michigan-Ohio State crew has been scrutinized since last Saturday, not long after Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh repeatedly said he was “bitterly disappointed” with their work.
Since then, the Big Ten has reprimanded Harbaugh and fined the school $10,000.
But the Big Ten has not addressed the officiating that Harbaugh questioned, including the spot on the critical fourth-and-1 for Ohio State in the second overtime. Ohio State won, 30-27, in double overtime after a review confirmed the first-down spot, setting up the eventual game-winning touchdown.
While officiating was the main subject of Harbaugh’s post-game comments, the Wolverines did have three turnovers in the game.
In the aftermath, the Michigan fan base has stirred controversy regarding the officiating crew from the UM-Ohio State game. Two of the officials were from Ohio, one had been disciplined by the Big Ten in 2002, and there was one on the crew from Michigan.
To clarify, this wasn’t the first time these officials had worked a Michigan-Ohio State game.
Kevin Schwarzel was the back judge for the game and many have pointed to a 2006 story in an Athens, Ohio, newspaper that indicated he was an Ohio State fan and was not allowed to work the 2006 No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan game because he is an Ohio native.
But this wasn’t the first time Schwarzel has worked a Michigan-Ohio State game. He was a back judge in 2015 and 2008, two years after he indicated he wasn’t permitted as part of the crew.
Bobby Sagers, the side judge, also is from Ohio. The last time he worked a Michigan-Ohio State game was in 2004 as a field judge.
Dan Capron was referee for the game last Saturday. His background is more curious. He was part of a Big Ten crew disciplined in 2002 after the Purdue-Wake Forest game. At the time, although it was never made clear the egregious errors the crew made, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said “they will forfeit future officiating assignments.” Apparently he did not mean forever.
Capron was back officiating Big Ten games in 2003. He was referee for the 2009 Michigan-Ohio State game.
And finally, John Wiercinski, the linesman last Saturday, is from the Grand Rapids area. He was the line judge for the 2015 Michigan-Ohio State game.