By Matthew Zimmer

The Pac-12 Conference detailed new communication protocols including “increased public communications around significant calls and new replay procedures” in a press release on Monday.

Via the release:

The new communications protocol is designed to increase transparency and public comment around significant calls that meet certain criteria.  Beginning this football season, the Pac-12 will issue public statements on calls that, in the Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating’s determination, meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Game-ending call or no-call impacting the result of the game;
  • Call involving a significant error in officiating mechanics;
  • Call involving an error in rules interpretation; or
  • Other extraordinary circumstances
Any public statement will be issued no later than the end of the day following the game in which the call occurred.

To me, this seems odd. I don’t know any other conference that needs this kind of transparency or hand-holding.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott had his statement included in the press release.

“We learned a lot from the independent review and I want to thank our subcommittee of athletic directors for overseeing this important work,” he said. “We are committed to implementing the review recommendations to ensure that our officiating program is as strong as possible. Strengthened replay protocols and increased transparency are essential to this goal.”

If we’re honest, the independent review that Scott mentions should not have been necessary. Yet, here we are. (Check out the review here.)

This announcement feels like the most Public Relations move ever. Now, I should wait to pass judgement, but the Pac-12 has exhausted my feeling that they deserve the “benefit of the doubt.”

The Pac-12 also announced their new “Centralized Replay Manual” (see here).

From the release: The new Centralized Replay Manual makes clear that the Supervisor of Replay Officials is the ultimate decision maker on replay calls, and strictly prohibits any communication with or access to the replay decision-making process from those other than the command center replay officials and in-stadium replay officials, with the exception of critical rules interpretation issues in which the Vice President of Officiating shall be allowed to input.

In other words, there should be no tampering from individuals like Woodie Dixon.

Below is the Press Release:

Pac-12 announces new communications protocols for football officiating & releases new replay officiating procedures

Increased transparency around significant calls and new replay procedures follow recommendations of independent football officiating review

SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference announced today details around its planned implementation of two key recommendations from the recently completed independent football officiating review conducted by Sibson Consulting that was released during the Pac-12’s annual football media day on July 24, including increased public communications around significant calls and new replay procedures.

The new communications protocol is designed to increase transparency and public comment around significant calls that meet certain criteria.  Beginning this football season, the Pac-12 will issue public statements on calls that, in the Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating’s determination, meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Game-ending call or no-call impacting the result of the game;
  • Call involving a significant error in officiating mechanics;
  • Call involving an error in rules interpretation; or
  • Other extraordinary circumstances

Any public statement will be issued no later than the end of the day following the game in which the call occurred.

Additionally, the Pac-12 released today its new Centralized Replay Manual (available here) that sets forth processes and procedures that will be in effect for this coming football season.  The new Centralized Replay Manual makes clear that the Supervisor of Replay Officials is the ultimate decision maker on replay calls, and strictly prohibits any communication with or access to the replay decision-making process from those other than the command center replay officials and in-stadium replay officials, with the exception of critical rules interpretation issues in which the Vice President of Officiating shall be allowed to input.

“We learned a lot from the independent review and I want to thank our subcommittee of athletic directors for overseeing this important work,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We are committed to implementing the review recommendations to ensure that our officiating program is as strong as possible. Strengthened replay protocols and increased transparency are essential to this goal.”

Additional recommendations of the independent football officiating review that are being implemented with immediate effect include the head of football officiating reporting directly to the Commissioner rather than the football administrator, along with enhancements to training programs for officials and more consistency in grading and training from officiating supervisors.

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