Story & Photo by Brayden Conover, Sports Editor
In a game against Iowa State, Oklahoma freshman point guard Jamal Bieniemy shot a last second three-pointer at the buzzer. Bieniemy made the shot, resulting in a 75-74 loss for the Sooners. However, the shot should not have counted because the ball did not leave Bieniemy’s hand until after the buzzer sounded. Because of the shot not affecting the outcome of the game, the referees did not review the shot; the score stood.
The result left sports gamblers that bet on the game furious. Via FanDuel, the spread of the game was Iowa State -2.5 points. The three-pointer that should not have counted changed the outcome for bettors, as the Sooners covered the -2.5 point spread. If the three would have been waved off, as it should have been, thousands of bettors would have been saved from the ever so evil post-buzzer backdoor cover.
Both the Big 12 Conference and the NCAA received calls from bettors, asking to change the final score to what it would have been before Bieniemy’s shot. The Big 12 Conference and NCAA both denied these requests.
The NCAA did, however, make a rule for the NCAA basketball tournament regarding situations like the one that happened between the Sooners and Cyclones.
Prior to the OU-Iowa State situation, Section 3, Article 1 stated, “Officials shall use such available equipment [instant replay equipment] when there is a reading of zeroes (or should have been zeroes on the clock) on the game clock at the end of any period, after making the outcome of the game in the following situations: 1. Determine whether a try for field goal entering the basket was released before the reading of zeroes on the game clock. When it is determined that the try for goal was successful, the official is permitted to put the exact time back on the game clock as to when the ball passed through the net.”
The NCAA came out after another (non) buzzer-beater cost bettors in a game between Creighton and Villanova. The NCAA determined officials, “will review all shots made at the buzzer, as necessary, in the interest of accuracy of score and team and player statistics and even if the outcome of the game isn’t riding on the officials’ call.”
Eddie Radosevich, co-host of The Franchise Morning Show and Soonerscoop.com videographer, said the NCAA doesn’t see it as affecting gambling lines, moreso as getting the call right.
“I wouldn’t say the NCAA realizes any kind of power [over gamblers] rather it has to do with getting something right,” Radosevich said.
However, Radosevich thinks gambling had an affect on the rule saying, “Gambling is the lifeblood of the NCAA Tournament. There’s a reason your local urologist becomes so popular during mid-March. It’s a national holiday of sort. From elementary schools to office pools to the sportsbook in Vegas, people are watching and gambling on hoops.”
OU Daily sportswriter Kegan Reneau thinks that the NCAA’s hand was forced in making the Bieniemy Rule. “I think Vegas showed how much power they have,” he said. “The NCAA is literally giving them what they want.”
Given the poor relationship between sports gambling and sport governing bodies, the Bieniemy Rule seems to be somewhat of an olive branch.
The NCAA and other athletic governing bodies are slowly but surely realizing that gambling and sports can live in harmony if proper channels are made. The Bieniemy Rule is one small step toward the realization of that harmony.