The SEC addressed the call at the end of Arkansas-Auburn, in which Auburn QB Bo Nix clearly threw a backwards pass on a spike, Arkansas clearly recovered, it was ruled intentional grounding, and the play stood as called upon review:
Statement on play at :30 to go in fourth quarter of Arkansas-Auburn game. pic.twitter.com/L1UQRlFx2M
— SEC Officiating (@SECOfficiating) October 11, 2020
So the SEC is acknowledging that the officials got the call wrong on the field, but that by the letter — because they blew the whistle — there was no immediate recovery and thus it could not be overturned. What the SEC is effectively saying is that a backwards pass on a spike would never be overturned if it is ruled a forward pass on the field, because the whistle would always blow before the ball gets immediately recovered.
Here is what NBC Sports officiating expert Terry McAulay said about the call:
This is a backward pass. A player from each team immediately continue to play. That would be considered continuing action and the ball is ultimately and clearly recovered by the defense. In my opinion, this should have been reversed and the ball given to Arkansas. https://t.co/P0xR9u6Vv1
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) October 11, 2020
One thing this SEC statement doesn’t change: Arkansas fans have a right to be livid that they were deprived of an upset over Auburn.