The SEC didn’t add a conference game to its schedules, but it’s adding a referee.
The conference will experiment with eight-man crews this fall, CBSSports.com reported, putting another striped shirt in the offensive backfield.
The center judge, as it will be called, will wear a “C” and be positioned opposite the referee.
Big 12 penalties increased by 1 per game from 2012 (7 officials) to 2013 (8 officials). http://t.co/7qE5mmH6Jz
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) April 30, 2014
“People think we’re putting the eighth official in so (that offenses) can go even faster,” SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw told CBSSports.com. “That absolutely is not the case. The expectation is the pace of the game, whether it’s seven or eight, will be very consistent across the board.”
The Big 12 used eight officials last year and will do so again this fall. Other conferences, including the ACC, also might use an eighth official. The Pac-12 will stick with the seven-man crew.
Adding another ref in the offensive backfield will help watch players at the line of scrimmage, taking some of the responsibilities off the referee and the umpire, who have to keep their eyes on a mass of humanity that can include eight to 11 players on any play.
“That’s a tall order,” Shaw said. “The early views are this eighth official helps us spotting the ball and managing the substitution process, but it’s also an extra pair of eyes to officiate.”
It’s thought that the center judge can free the umpire from handling substitutions and allow him to focus on his other responsibilities.
For those of who you are worried about more penalties, the eighth ref in Big 12 games called 52 penalties in 54 games in 2013.
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