RALEIGH — College basketball officials have the power to end games in extraordinary circumstances. Fear of fans getting ready to storm the court isn't one of them.
John Adams, the NCAA's national officiating coordinator, said Tuesday that only game officials have the power to end a game early, as North Carolina coach Roy Williams attempted to do Saturday by mutual consent with Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. Williams, concerned for his team's safety at Tallahassee's Tucker Center as fans prepared to rush the court to celebrate the Seminoles' 90-57 upset, said he approached Hamilton about ending the game with 14.2 seconds to play.
"I'm not aware of any precedent where officials ended a game early because both coaches wanted to," Adams said. "Not to say it's never been done, I'm just not aware of it. ... From the 30-minute mark in warm-ups, until the time the officials designate the final score as correct, the jurisdiction, the management of the game falls within the hands of officials."
Williams said Monday on his radio show he thought he and Hamilton agreed to end the game, and most of North Carolina's players, coaches and staff left the bench with Williams. Five players remained on the court as officials played out the final seconds.
A UNC spokesman said Tuesday there was nothing to add to Williams' Monday comments.
ACC officiating coordinator John Clougherty said Tuesday that as long as there are five players on the floor for each team, his officials will finish the game.
"Officials are going to referee the game up until the end of the game," Clougherty said. "They're going to do that. They'll look to game management and security to take care of it."
Clougherty referred all other questions regarding the Tallahassee situation to the league office. An ACC spokesperson said Tuesday that in-game situations like the one in Tallahassee fall under NCAA rules, not league rules.
Adams said officials have the power to make decisions on situations not included in the rulebook, but that "elastic" power is limited to extremely rare situations. Officials, for example, ended the game last month between Cincinnati and Xavier with 9.4 seconds to go after a massive brawl between the teams.
"There's your elastic powers of the referee," Adams said. "There's a case where the officials probably thought they couldn't restore order in a reasonable time, No. 1, and No. 2, there was no doubt in the outcome of the game. There's a case where in the interest of the safety of everybody - fans, players, police - let's deal with the issue at hand and not worry about trying to find five players for each team."
Staff writer Andrew Carter contributed to this story.