The SEC is going to fix its officiating problems by… blaming the messenger:
Commissioner Mike Slive told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday that coaches who violate the conferences’ ethics rules against criticizing officials in public will face a fine or suspension instead of receiving public reprimands when they first act up.
“It became clear to me after last week that I was no longer interested in reprimands and the conference athletic directors and university presidents unanimously agreed,” said Slive, in his eighth season as the head of the SEC.
Well, I’m not an SEC coach and, frankly, Bobby Petrino, Lane Kiffin, and Dan Mullen are my least favorite coaches in the league, but when a quarter of your league’s coaches think your referees are incompetent or worse—with commentators on television openly suggesting the refs are making calls to help Bama and Florida keep their national rankings—the problem isn’t the coaches’ airing of grievances, however whiny they may sound.
Instead Slive needs to get together with the other BCS-conference commissioners and assemble a new plan for refereeing big-time college football. With the BCS and regular-season television money that the conferences are raking in, the least the conferences could do is work together to produce a competent, national pool of refs to assign to regular season and bowl games, rather than the motley hodge-podge of officials that are used now.