College football fans agree on very little, but the closest you’ll ever get to a consensus is that Pac-12 officiating has long been the worst of any conference. The Pac-12 took a step toward fixing that problem Wednesday, hiring NFL Director of Officiating David Coleman.
The conference issued a release to media that includes the following from commissioner Larry Scott:
“The quality and integrity of officiating is paramount to successful competition across all sports. For this reason, we are breaking the mold by creating a full-time position to work with our entire officiating operation. David’s proven track record on and off the field will help us elevate our game to an even higher level as we seek to set the standard for quality across all fields of competition.”
“The Pac-12 has set a standard for innovation and excellence. It will be my role to lead and develop an officiating program that meets this high standard. I am confident that, along with the Pac-12 membership and our existing officiating coordinators, we can build programs that others will try to emulate.”
Both Scott and Coleman tow the line of touting the Pac-12’s refocused emphasis on officiating without specifically calling out how bad it was before. And make no mistake, it was bad, and Scott was made well aware.
When Scott took questions from reporters at halftime of last October’s UCLA-Oregon game — days after Tony Corrente stepped down as head of officials — Scott was posed an awkward question about the #Pac12Refs hashtag that trended on Twitter whenever there was a notably blown call.
“I don’t run the officiating based on what fans think,” Scott said in October. “But, we’ve got really high standards for accountability and training, and I certainly look for constant improvement. We’ve made a lot of changes in the last five years.
“Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Will officials still make mistakes? Absolutely. Are we completely satisfied? No,” he added. “With the change in leadership, it’s a good opportunity to take a step back and evaluate.”
Hopefully the evaluation, and this is new direction for Pac-12 officiating, prevents repeats of the below: