SEC FOOTBALL OFFICIATING CREW SUSPENDEDObviously it doesn't matter a hill of beans if you're a Georgia or an Arkansas fan, but at least the public pressure on Slive forced him to reconsider his position on "public hangings." I respectfully submit that public humiliation, when warranted, is an effective motivator for the rest of your work force.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (October 21, 2009) -- The officiating crew from Saturday’s Arkansas at Florida football game will be removed from its next scheduled assignment on Oct. 31 and will not be assigned to officiate as a crew until Nov. 14, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive announced Wednesday.
"A series of calls that have occurred during the last several weeks have not been to the standard that we expect from our officiating crews," said Slive. "I believe our officiating program is the best in the country, however, there are times when these actions must be taken."
Following each weekend, the conference office reviews games from the previous week, using video replays as well as interviews with officials, coaches and administrators.
"While only a few calls have been identified, the entire crew shoulders responsibility for each play. I have taken this action because there must be accountability in our officiating program," added Slive. "Our institutions expect the highest level of officiating in all of our sports and it is the duty of the conference office to uphold that expectation."
In addition, there will be an impact on eligibility for post-season bowl assignments for the crew.
In reality, the suspended crew is not much worse than any of the SEC's other crews. The suspended crew had the bad judgment to screw up royally in two high profile games, but plenty of non-outcome determinative but equally poor calls occur in any given game officiated by SEC refs. I submit Penn Wagers and his band of merry men are equally capable of such underachievement.
I get that it's a tough job and every call is objected to by one team or the other. But the ticky-tacky subjective stuff riles me like an off-ball foul in the final two minutes of basketball game riled Jim Harrick. When the Vanderbilt player tossed Joe Cox's hand towel in the air after sacking him, it seemed like an appropriate place to throw a celebration flag. I mean, some official had to be watching, or they wouldn't know the play was dead. The lack of uniformity and the lack of objective criteria for certain calls are something Slive and Rogers Redding should be tackling.
Tony Barnhart probably hit closest to the mark when he criticized the overall mindset of the league's officials. Credit Mike Slive for realizing the SEC's credibility was taking a pounding and doing something about it.
Hopefully this is the first of several steps the SEC will take to address the horrific quality of conference officiating.