All three officials assigned to Wednesday’s St. John’s-Rutgers game have "voluntarily withdrawn" from the remainder of the Big East tournament, according to a statement released by the conference shortly before the start of Thursday's noon Pittsburgh-UConn game at Madison Square Garden.
"Our officials are a very dedicated and loyal group of professionals who care deeply about The Big East Conference,” the statement read. “In the best interests of everyone involved – including coaches, student-athletes, game officials and Big East member institutions – the officials who were assigned to the St. John’s-Rutgers game Wednesday have voluntarily withdrawn for the remainder of The 2011 Big East Championship. With three days of competition remaining, it is our hope that everyone will now focus on our outstanding teams and the exciting games ahead."
The referees were Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton.
Controversy clouded the Red Storm’s 65-63 victory over Rutgers Wednesday, after television replays showed Justin Brownlee ran three steps without dribbling on his way out of bounds with 1.7 seconds remaining, before heaving the ball into the stands.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that “two separate officiating errors occurred” on that play -- traveling and out of bounds. According to Marinatto: “Both violations should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur before the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA playing rules.”
St. John's faces Syracuse at 2 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.