This week I continue my 10 part piece on things I would like to see changed in college football. For reference, here are the previous articles:
For this installment, I am going to tackle conference affiliation of officials.
To be honest, there isn't much information that I could track down on the history of conference affiliations for officials. I would imagine that as long as the conferences have been around, each has contracted with local or regional officials. College football officials are not licensed (like states do for high school officials), but instead tested by the conference with which they are affiliated.
For reference, the ACC (which had the most useful information on its website) has 10 crews of officials, 30+ supplemental officials, 11 replay officials/technical advisors and 15 replay communicators and observers on contract.
I have never been a fan of conference affiliation of officials. It has lead to inconsistent officiating as each conference tends to focus on enforcing certain rules over others. This is likely more apparent to Irish fans, as Notre Dame plays games with several different crews through the course of the season. You may recall the 2009 Michigan game. I shouldn't need to say more than that.
As far as changes go, I think the NCAA needs to take more of a leadership role in driving consistency in its sports. They create and change the rules for the game, so they should be in charge of the officials who call the games.
By creating one large group of officials (instead of several smaller ones controlled by conferences), the game would be called in a more consistent manner and allow for the outcome to be determined by the teams playing-and not the officials.
ACC's Information on Officials