Time for conferences to get out of the officiating business

 

 

 

On most weeks, it is fun to be Rogers Redding. The professorial Redding received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Georgia Tech and then earned his Ph.d. in Physical Chemistry from Vanderbilt. At several institutions, Redding was the chemistry professor that everyone wanted because he could take the complex and make it understandable.

 

Redding, it turns out, didn’t know what complex really was until he became the SEC supervisor of football officials in 2006. And he never really knew there could be a three-week stretch like this, where he has been called everything but, as our friend Neal Boortz would say, a child of God.

 

“It’s been interesting, to say the very least,” said Redding.

 

The SEC, much to its chagrin, has been put front and center over an increasingly loud discussion over football officiating. In three of the last four Saturdays a big call in a nationally-televised SEC game has sparked controversy that resulted in suspension of officials, reprimands of coaches, and charges from fans of conspiracy theories that would make the members of the Grassy Knoll Society blush.

 

In the past two weeks SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has had to reprimand three coaches—Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin, and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen—for complaining publicly about officiating calls. The first couple of reprimands are public with no real teeth. Kiffin was sent notice on Monday that his two strikes are up. The third time could result in penalties and one of those potential penalties is suspension.

 

The latest two calls to spark debate came last Saturday:

**–With Florida up 23-13 in the fourth quarter at Mississippi State, Gator linebacker Dustin Doe returned an interception 23 yards for an apparent touchdown. TV replays indicated that the ball may have been stripped before Doe crossed the goal line. After reviewing the play, the call stood. Mullen went nuts after seeing his own video and said that the replay official should be punished.

 

On Monday Mullen received a reprimand from Slive.

 

The rules say that “conclusive video evidence” must be present to overturn the ruling on the field. After reviewing the call on Monday, Rogers said such evidence did not exist.

 

“The default position is that the call on the field stands unless there is conclusive, indisputable evidence that it is wrong,” Redding said. “It wasn’t there.”

 

Based on some still screen pictures that are out there, Mississippi State fans would disagree.

 

The other call came at the end of the Tennessee-Alabama game. Alabama’s Terrence Cody blocked a Tennessee field goal as time expired and in the wild celebration that followed the big guy took off his helmet. Gary Danielson, who covered the game for CBS, wondered if it should have been an unsportsmanlike violation because it happened while the ball was still live. Kiffin was convinced that it was and said publicly that the refs had missed it.

 

Well, the refs didn’t miss it. The way the rule is written, even if a penalty had been called (which it shouldn’t be in that situation), it would have been marked off on the next play and not the previous play. The ball belonged to Alabama after the blocked kick.

 

“That’s a case where the rule is pretty clear,” said Redding. “Even if there had been time left on the clock, the ball would have belonged to Alabama. And if a penalty had been called, it would still be Alabama’s ball after the penalty was enforced.”

 

Fans look at these calls and the ones in the Georgia-LSU game and the Florida-Arkansas game (where the crew was eventually suspended) that the SEC had to admit were wrong and wonder: What the heck is going on here?  So if you’re keeping score at home, that’s three coaches and one officiating crew who have been punished.

 

“What we have to realize is that these things are so important to our fans and they care deeply,” Redding said. “We review everything that needs to be reviewed and when action needs to be taken, we take it. Our guys work extremely hard at this and take a lot of pride in it.”

 

Slive said he backs Redding and his officials.

 

“We have the best conference in college football because we have the best players, the best coaches and easily the best fans,” Slive said. “We take our responsibility seriously and we’re going to do what we have to do maintain the highest standards.”

 

I do have one suggestion as we move forward. One of the most popular conspiracy theories is that the officials are “looking out” for Florida and Alabama because they are 1-2 in the polls and seem destined to meet in the SEC championship game. I’m not going to spend any time writing about how silly that is, but we’re probably reaching the stage where it’s time to take that idea off the table.

 

It seems to me that it’s time for the conferences—all of them—to get out of the officiating business. Let’s have officials assigned on a national basis so that they are not identified with one conference, who is technically their employer. It certainly wouldn’t solve all the problems because officials are human beings and human beings are going to make mistakes. But it would take away one argument from those who see a massive conspiracy behind every missed call. That, in and of itself, would be a welcomed change.

 

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379 comments Add your comment

Gatorchomp

October 27th, 2009
2:02 pm

Brew–I think it was Kiffin himself who said he wasn’t into “moral victories.” Fortunately for him, Vol fans are. I’m actually impressed with Kiffin. I’m impressed with anybody that can talk his way into a $2 million HC job at Tenn with no college HC experience and a 5-15 record as an NFL coach. The dude has the best player in college football (Berry) along with a lot of other talent, yet Kiffin has convinced Vol fans that he and his staff are making due with a JV squad. And now on this blog, we’ve got Vol fans comparing Kiffin to FDR. Wow. To me, this is looking like Kentucky’s first year with Billy Gillispie. UK fans were sick of Tubby–just like UT fans were sick of Fulmer. Both hired inexperienced but excitable coaches who love to run their mouths. Fans loved both of them at the beginning. But both programs continued to lose. And like UK basketball, the honeymoon will not last long with Kiffin.

im4bama

October 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

Tide Rising

Nice post brother. That’s the way to set’em straight, with facts. Too bad their still too ignorant to see the truth. Plus all the “no calls”, they really got cheated didn’t they? I would bet my left nut that the “head set not working” ploy was all Kiffin too.

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

Tide Rising,

This blog is no place for a clearly delineated argument supported by evidence. Join me as I return to name calling and making unfounded accusations.

Bamafan

October 27th, 2009
2:13 pm

It is always a dead ball foul..Read the rules..Whomever has possesion at end of play retains possesion..Done over!!

Big Dawg

October 27th, 2009
2:14 pm

G’villegator

First off while you probably are right about the singled out calls in these games i.e. FL/Arkansas, FL/MS ST, AL/TN and GA/LSU that they did not have a bearing on the outcome of the games. But unfortunately they weren’t the only horrible calls or non calls in these games which IMHO did have an effect on the outcome in these games. That FL, AL and LSU were the beneficiaries of these calls only adds credence to the suggestion that the SEC has some serious issues. Why hasn’t excessive celebration/unsportsmanlike conduct been called on Tebow, why when these teams have the ball they get the right foot spot and their opponents get the left foot spot? Why when their players hit the QB late or lead with the helmet it is not called, but if their opponent even appears to be late or looks like they led with their helmet it gets called?

Most true football fans want the games called fairly and consistently and that is not happening and as far as I am concerned that needs to be addressed and rectified. We all know that sometimes the official miss calls but to blatantly see things that didn’t occur or miss things that did is unacceptable. Now as far as a National Officiating that isn’t necessary if the SEC does the right thing and straightens this out.

G8R GRAD

October 27th, 2009
2:16 pm

Recruiting guru

October 27th, 2009
2:16 pm

I see that Brew is racking up the moral victories. I think he tends to forget that UT loses more seniors than anybody, especially senior starters. 4 of their 5 o-lineman are seniors and the one returning starter will be one of those 6′1 260 lb Sullins boys that Terrence ran over. Top 2 qbs are gone and as much as UT fans complain about Crompton you gotta wonder how bad their 3rd teamer is behind Crompton and Stephens. Anyone even know who he is?

All in all UT loses 8 seniors on offense and 6 on defense include stalwarts like Rico Mccoy, Dan Williams, and Eric Berry who will more than likely go pro. That’s 8 returning starters coming back which will probably be the lowest in the sec.

I don’t think anyone will really have to worry about UT for several years to come if ever.

And of course UT fans like to talk as if this team Kiffin is devoid of talent. Wrong again. This year’s senior class was rated 4th nationally when they signed 2005 class in rivals.com and was also top 5 recruiting class in scout.com

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:19 pm

Big Dawg,

Specifically, which calls/non-calls did Bama benefit from in the UT game or the previous games?

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:22 pm

Got 12,

You probably right. Since the facts clearly do not support UT’s argument the Vol fans should just go back to complaining with unfounded accusations,bitching, and name calling. What’s so funny is that if you look at the game in retrospect you see just how badly we got screwed on the officiating. Its hilarious that they actually think they’re the ones who got screwed. How do you reason with people like that? I guess you’re right. You can’t.

Brew

October 27th, 2009
2:24 pm

Chomp, it’s not about moral victories. I said those losses were unsatisfactory. It’s about seeing marked improvement from last year to this. It’s about seeing the Crompton that stunk in Fla. become one of the best QBs this month with his performances against Uga and Bama. You really think Timmy will throw for 265 against Bama? You have higher regarded receivers and QBs. Yet, your passing game looks worse than ours this past weekend. We played Bama, you played MSU. We appreciate in Kiffin that our team is being coached up and that the players are buying in. We feel very, very good about the future because we are already getting better now. That’s the difference in last year and this one.

Anonymous

October 27th, 2009
2:24 pm

Hey 69Dawg,

“Just because we are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get us.”

That’s funny right there, I don’t care who ya are!

mightyKC

October 27th, 2009
2:25 pm

“mightykc
huh? i showed you a YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE GAME AS IT HAPPENED. You think the announcers have videos that the booth doesn’t you idiot.

As for the ark game i never said it was reviewable. i said it was another pathetic bs call that went for UF so they could retain their undefeated season. and there were two 2 atrocious calls in that game. dumbazz”

joe-tard,
the booth did not have both angles SYNCED UP W/ THE SAME TIMESTAMP!
duh! that is the only thing, if one was sure it was accurate, that would clearly overturn the call on the field. also, i looked and did not see what youtube vid you are referring to.

if you know it wasn’t reviewable (arky penalty), then you know the ref already admitted it was a bad call, and there was nothing to do about it other than apologize, which he did. BAD CALLS HAPPEN IN EVERY GAME! on mallets 3rd and 18 bomb to childs-please, carlos dunlap was held for 2 seconds. it was a missed call. the refs only did it to keep the game close for ratings! who do i sound like? joe-tard! i understand the the refs missed that call, but i’m not naive enough to blame the entire game’s outcome on that play. you’d like to think the refs missed the FG for arky, too.

your and all the other whiners need to understand, like most fans do, that teams can’t let a call decide the game, they need to beat their opponents and take advantage of every play the entire game. note the coaches complained about bad calls, but none were stupid enough to say “we would have won otherwise!”. now, just give kiffin a few more days, though, as he talks about as intelligently as most msg board fans. yep, that’s who i want running my program.

and the pass interference call (the other call you whine about) was not a bad call….the defender hits the FL WR w/ his body before the ball arrives. another judgement call where even after reviewed in replay (play is not reviewable), there was no evidence to show it was a bad call…that play was not unlike 90% of all PI calls.

GMan

October 27th, 2009
2:26 pm

Big Dawg, those are some pretty hefty accusations. I’m sure any news agency would be happy to see your video evidence of this occuring so please provide it. Otherwise, it may just be your television or your perspective that needs adjusting. The refs are human and they are attempting to call it in real time. Some plays are not reviewable. Your slow-motion on your tv is not in their head and they don’t have the benefit of a sports announcer who may be siding with your team on the play talking in their ear.

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:27 pm

im4bama,

Once again this moron Lame Kiffin counfounds me with his illogic. The headsets not working clearly favored UT and not Bama. Bama was on offense and this obviously hurts the offense more. Any idiot knows that. Bama’s off coordinator was up in the booth and couldn’t receive signals so obviously we were screwed. UT was on defense and Monte Kiffin was right there on the sideline so obviously it had little or no effect on them. Sometimes you really wonder just how stupid Lame Kiffin really is. None of what this guy says ever makes sense or has any logical thought behind it. Could this guy possibly be any dumber when he runs his mouth?

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
2:28 pm

I think it shows how good Bama is coached that they did not have one holding call all game… that is impressive…

sec fan

October 27th, 2009
2:28 pm

we had better find something to raise hell about because if we don’t the world might notice how over rated we are as a conference. why is LSU rated ? they are week, and so is Fla. its sad that the word just got out, after playing no one for the first half of the year and not really winning big. And now Bama has problems too. the whole SEC is weak and any team can beat each other. But don’t they have problems when they play out side the conference? when ever that happens. they like really small schools from no where. OVER RATED

Brew

October 27th, 2009
2:29 pm

12, Kiffin also argued disparity in calls of 8 to 1. You want to live in a fairy tale world where you get 12 was it, in SC, but suddenly you’ve improved to only one in Tuscaloser that’s on you.
I wouldn’t argue those were bad calls against us. We committed them. I think the world stands amazed that as your team is fighting for it’s life against a heavy, heavy underdog, that they commit ONE. No holding when Ingram only gets 99. No pass interference as Crompton…CROMPTON is throwing for 265. There’s plenty of room there to discuss the disparity in the number of calls.
Plus, if the refs weren’t so busy showing your guys where the ball was on the last blocked FG, they could have thrown the flag, as they were supposed to, discussed it, and told the world that the flag didn’t matter. That would have been the proper course of action and no one would argue conspiracy.

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:31 pm

Big Dawg,

Name one specific call that unfairly benefited Alabama in the Tennessee game. Just one. The terrance cody issue has already been settled and it had no effect on the game whatsoever. I can name 3 instances where Bama got screwed in that game as I did in a previous post. I’m asking you to name one bad call where UT got screwed since you think they did.

GMan

October 27th, 2009
2:32 pm

Got 12? I think you are now going to have to present the facts/rules of the game so Brew will understand. Sorry about having to do that. I know it’s much easier to just ramble on about a conspiracy or something like that without bearing.

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:36 pm

Tide,

You exchange a couple of “Moron!” and “Idiot!” comments and move on. Don’t let them get to you.

Hey, where is everyone this afternoon? Seemingly, the only folks on the blog are Bammers and delusional Viles. lol

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:37 pm

Brew,

The refs largely let the 2 teams play and hence the lack of holding calls which are the most subjective. Bama and UT had 1 each. The rest of the calls against UT such as false starts, delay of game, illegal procedure, etc. there is no subjectivity in these calls. There is nothing to be argued including the disparity. UT committed them and Bama didn’t. This is not difficult to understand.

If you can’t understand the difference between subjective calls and cut and dried obvious calls where there is no dispute such as delay of game, false start, illegal procedure, then I just can’t help you.

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
2:41 pm

Ok, here is the deal. The player removed his helmet before change of posession. It was not 4th down. The rule states.

Officials should ascertain before the ball is ready for play if players are not wearing mandatory equipment or are wearing illegal equipment.
Only in an emergency should the play clock be interrupted. Examples: A
player(s) not wearing a helmet or a mouthpiece (A.R. 1-4-6-I). The team
will be charged a timeout or, if all timeouts have been used, a delay-ofgame foul. VIOLATION—Rules 3-3-6 and 3-4-2-b-2 [S23, S3 or S21].

So, the play should have been interrupted. Since Bama caused the play to be interrupted and they were on defense, UT should have retained posession with one more play with no time on the clock.

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:42 pm

help, I live in Georgia.

Holy cow. The fact that the refs didn’t throw a flag on Cody in which Bama would have had the ball with 0 time left on the clock shows a bias of the refs towards Bama? Are you kidding? How on earth does one come up with such a sweeping generalization? Man, that is quite a leap in logic. You need to go back and read the posts on this.

You think that one meaningless noncall proves an obvious bias, that you can make this leap in intent based on a meaningless non call when the game is over is nothing short of amazing. Absolutely amazing!

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:45 pm

Regarding the play itself, just as with a kickoff, when the ball comes to rest and no one attempts to recover it, the play is over.

RULE 6. KICKS
SECTION 3. Scrimmage Kicks
ARTICLE 7. Out of Bounds between Goal Lines or at Rest Inbounds

If a scrimmage kick goes out of bounds between the goal lines or comes to rest inbounds and no player attempts to secure it, the ball becomes dead and belongs to the receiving team at the dead-ball spot.

im4bama

October 27th, 2009
2:47 pm

Cracker,

This rule is for before the snap of the ball dude. Your pathetic to still be crying over this when even the officals themselves said if there was a penalty, Bama would have possesion of the ball.

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
2:48 pm

Got 12, the play is dead when the ref blows the whistle… that ref was watching the ball and did not blow the whistle til the guys jumped on it, because the ball was still live….

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:48 pm

Cracker,

For God’s sake how many dam times does this have to be explained to you and other vol fans. Its a freaking dead ball foul. Had the ref called it the penalty would have been enforced AFTER the play. Bama would have had the ball at its own 12 yard line with zero time on the clock.

Tony points this out, the sec commissioner points this out, everyone now understands the rule.

That is why when a guy showboats or points at a defensive opponent on his way to the end zone the penalty is assessed AFTER the play. They don’t assess the penalty and put it on the 15 yard line. Its assessed on the point after or kickoff in that case cause its a dead ball foul

For Pete’s sake how dam hard is this for you to understand?

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:52 pm

But wait! Some of you (including Lane) say an unsportsmanlike should have been called in Cody resulting in a rekick. Not so fast, My Rivals!

According the rule book, the penalty would have been enforced after the result of the play which was Bama possession.

RULE 9. Conduct of Players and Others Subject to the Rules
SECTION 2. Unsportsmanlike Conduct Fouls
ARTICLE 1.
There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct or any act that interferes with orderly game administration on the part of players, substitutes, coaches, authorized attendants or any other persons subject to the rules, before the game, during the game or between periods.
(d) Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves).
(f) Removal of a player’s helmet before he is in the team area (Exceptions: Team, media or injury timeouts; equipment
adjustment; through play; between periods; and during a measurement for a first down).

If committed while the ball is alive, these fouls are treated as dead-ball fouls.

im4bama

October 27th, 2009
2:52 pm

Cracker, are you Lane Kiffin?

Grantland Rice

October 27th, 2009
2:53 pm

Tide Rising

Give up on the rule explanation, their mind is made up. It’s like the movie Cool Hand Luke.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate. Some men, you just can’t reach”.

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:53 pm

Cracker,

The ref didn’t blow the whistle because Bama still could have picked up the ball and run with it if they wanted to. And if the ref would have thrown a flag on Cody we would have had the ball on the 12 anyway with no time left. Let it go dudes. Everybody, Tony, the sec commissioner, the supervisor of refs, EVERYONE agrees Bama would have had the ball at its own 12. How in the hell do you not uderstand this no matter how many times its explained?

GMan

October 27th, 2009
2:54 pm

If a blocked field goal is in or behind the neutral zone, it is treated like a fumble and can be advanced by either team. Beyond the neutral zone, a blocked kick is treated like a punt or missed field goal and can be advanced only by the defense, unless a defensive player fumbles the ball, after which an offensive player can advance it.

This is what was stated by Bloom – “The foul for taking helmet off is a live ball foul treated as a dead-ball foul,” Bloom wrote in an e-mail Saturday night. “That is, if it happens on a play where time does not expire then the penalty is enforced on the following play. However since the clock ran out on that play, then there is no next play, so there is no penalty to mark off.”

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
2:55 pm

im4Bama… “your pathetic”? lol I am not crying. I enjoy watching Bama fans when they are winning. The entertainment value is tremendous. I know y’all have been down for so long that this promised land that Bear once took you to seems almost in reach…. you can taste it….Bama is back!!!! This is fun to watch, though nothing is better than watching y’all turn on a coach and defend your illegal activities… it is good clean entertainment…

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:55 pm

Grantland Rice,

I guess you’re right. No sense arguing with a rock no matter how much you try to explain it. I guess some of these vol fans believe what they want to believe in defiance of logic and reality. It just amazes me that somebody can be that dam dense.

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:56 pm

Brokebackvol

October 27th, 2009
2:56 pm

As far as the Vols vs Bammers, the disparity in number of calls against UT is much more troubling than calling a celebration type thing at the end, when it really does make no difference. There was not enough time to do anything anyway. But UT played a pretty good game, and 8 penalties to only 1 is at least a bit suspect, considering UT is one of the very least penalized teams. Bammers are no angels, regardless of what lies their mamas tell them.

PS: The south is FILLED with rednecks and hillbillies – anybody in the SEC who wants to make fun of others better look out in their own backyard cause none of the SEC states are innocent of that charge. Deal with it. Some of your family trees look like telephone poles.

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:57 pm

Cracker,

You can not possibly be any stupider. It is absolutely breathtaking that there are people like you in the world who simply cannot think.

Mike Shula

October 27th, 2009
2:57 pm

UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Mike Shula

October 27th, 2009
2:58 pm

Darby up the middle 3 times….. then JUMBO PACKAGE time !!!!!!

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
2:59 pm

I thought crackers were supposed to be salty, not bitter. lol

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
2:59 pm

Brokeback vol, an 8 to 1 disparity in penalties is easily explainable when all of the penalties are cut and dried penalties such as false start, delay of game, illegal procedure, there is no subjectivity and they are so obvious that they can’t not be called. Ut committed them we didn’t. Its just that simple.

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
3:00 pm

Damn, I do not even have to set the hook with this bunch….

im4bama

October 27th, 2009
3:01 pm

Cracker,

Who’s defending who? Sounds to me like your defending the idiot that keeps running his mouth, accusing coaches,referee’s and anyone else who’s convenient to blame of cheating while he’s the actual cheater and liar.

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
3:05 pm

Seriously, I am pretty sure that “stupider” is not a word….

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
3:06 pm

Cracker,

If we lose the rest of our games and end up bowling in Birmingham, I will still be able to watch end of the Bama-UT game with a smile on my face.

TEBOW TOSSES SALAD

October 27th, 2009
3:06 pm

i hope one our d linemen gets a personal foul on tebow right off the rip saturday to set the tone. F the gaytors!!!!!heck i wonder if they will be to afraid to even call something legit.

Got 12?

October 27th, 2009
3:07 pm

Mike Shula,

Is your dad still making disparaging remarks about Bama to any paper that will listen?

Tide Rising

October 27th, 2009
3:08 pm

Cracker,

Its been fun. I’m going to go and watch the Bama-UT replay. My favorite play is watching Cody rip is helmet off in celebration. Is that a penalty?

Cracker

October 27th, 2009
3:09 pm

Hey, got 12 in your mouth… I am told I taste salty, but bitter when I eat asperagus… but you are right, I usually do taste salty. Does that excite you?

Keep it Real!

October 27th, 2009
3:10 pm

Look Bama fans! You are very lucky thatLane( I do not know how to manage the game clock) Kippin in a game.

With 45 seconds left on the clock you run one play to kick a long field goal. Bama fans relax and enjoy this ride until you have to play UTAH.

This year BAMA fans after losign to Florida in the SEC championship, you will play Boise State who will also whip that Bama butt!