Colleges

Move to 8th football official gains steam, but why, why, why?

Posted June 2, 2014

Referees discuss whether the interception resulted in a safety or touchback during the NC A&T vs. NC Central game on November 17, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina.

Is the day getting near when there will be 30 people on the field in all college football games? Regrettably, that’s the direction things are heading.

A year after the Big 12 Conference started an experiment with eight officials, rather than the basic seven, the SEC has adopted the same policy for a few games amid much speculation that the ACC and Big Ten soon will fall in line.

Just what the world needs, huh?

College games routinely last almost four hours as it is. Adding an eighth official will only add more minutes.
Or as that famous philosopher, the late Frank Howard of Clemson once said, “Put a yellow handkerchief in a man’s pocket and he’ll damn sure throw it on the ground.”

The same goes for basketball, a sport Howard cared less for than football officials. Put a whistle in a person’s mouth and it’ll get blown, often along with the enusing ruling.

But at least the lords and ladies of basketball thus far have resisted from expanding crews to four. Until the mid 1970s, two officials supervised basketball games and managed to do it without causing World War III.

Football crew numbers seem to increase exponentially, going from five in the 1950s to six in the ‘60s and to seven in the ‘70s.

That’s in addition to the ever-growing instant replay options.

As the movement advances for an eighth crew member, stop for a minute or so and reflect on the number of times you’ve seen officials make inadvertent blocks or accidentally deflect passes or prematurely blow live plays dead?

Standard football fields are 100 yards long and about 53 yards wide. That’s not a great deal of operating room when you take into consideration that major college linemen and linebackers usually are 6-feet-3 or taller and weigh at least 225 pounds. The backs are smaller but wide outs can go 6-5 and 225.

The incentive for larger crews is admirable, of course. Everyone pays the proper lip service to getting each play called correctly. In a perfect world, that would happen.

But football is not a perfect world and never will be. You could put 22 officials on a field - a 1-to-1 ratio for players - and infractions still would be missed.

The reality of the situation is that adding an eighth official is just as likely to result in more missed calls, confusion, traffic jams and those annoying officiating confabs.

Enough already. Stop it at seven before some league decides that eight just isn’t enough and goes for nine.

19 Comments

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  • Doc Holliday Jun 4, 7:02 p.m.

    Tudor, the more the better! Officials are inept enough as it is. Adding more can only help... View More

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    Careful what you ask for. It could lead to more bad calls. lol

    Saw the State/Clemson game and agree with ya 100% on that call. Brutal!

  • Objective Scientist Jun 4, 12:49 p.m.

    This is ridiculous!!! Everyone... please realize/recognize/acknowledge that humans are neither... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    OS, funny how some teams normally benefit from these "human errors," while others always find... View More

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    LuvsThePack.... good question, but... can you show data to back up the notion of bias in the pattern of officials calls? Do you have evidence to support it? And I ask that with great sincerity... not just to "spar" with you. If you have such data/evidence to support that... even if it "goes against" my team, I will be in your corner on this issue and support you to the fullest. I want my team to win, but only if my team LEGITIMATELY scores more points than your team!

  • tarheelfan41 Jun 4, 9:09 a.m.

    "lewiskr45 Jun 2, 3:15 p.m.
    As a Wolfpack football season ticket holder, I am fed up with the growing length of games. "

    Add another to the Wolfpacker halftime deserter list.

    The best way to win a game is score more points than the opponent. Even if the touchdown was... View More

    — Posted by lewiskr45

  • tmstubbs63 Jun 3, 2:42 p.m.

    If a 8th official in college is a good idea, how about getting some competent officials to do high school games in NC....

  • heelsforever Jun 3, 11:47 a.m.

    Will this make it easier for Swofford to stick it to State or harder? On the one hand, there... View More

    — Posted by Chatham Adam

    The Swof does not need this. He has all the power he needs already to stick it to State.

  • justabumer Jun 3, 10:03 a.m.

    I don't know if this is the answer or not but do agree that football games last far too long. I've had season tickets in Chapel Hill for many years and seldom watch a complete game unless it's really close. I'd like to see the quarters shortened to twelve minutes.

  • I am not who you think I am Jun 3, 9:38 a.m.

    Please don't give Ron Cherry one more person to consult with before making a call. His games are awful

  • Chatham Adam Jun 3, 6:38 a.m.

    Will this make it easier for Swofford to stick it to State or harder? On the one hand, there will be more officials on the field to throw flags and call back the play when State scores or gains a lot of yards. But on the other hand, there will be one extra official for him to have to indoctrinate with his GET STATE agenda. Instead of waiting to find out, State should move to the Southern Conference where it can be competitive again.

  • LuvsThePack Jun 2, 10:08 p.m.

    This is ridiculous!!! Everyone... please realize/recognize/acknowledge that humans are neither... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    OS, funny how some teams normally benefit from these "human errors," while others always find themselves on the receiving end of the bad calls.

  • Objective Scientist Jun 2, 6:16 p.m.

    This is ridiculous!!! Everyone... please realize/recognize/acknowledge that humans are neither "robots" nor "computers". Humans who play games, be it football, basketball, baseball, etc. - THE PLAYERS - make mistakes during the game. Officials officiating the game will also make mistakes. Sure... we could have 22 officials on the field - one assigned to watch each player on the field - we would still hear "howls" of protest from the coaches and spectators when a call is made differently than how we "saw it" from the sideline, or from the last row far away from the field/court. We could have 3 cameras on each sideline, each goal line, each endline, etc. We could have a camera following each of the 22 players on the field. All of that is possible... obviously at some expense, but for what reason? The "Holy Grail" of the "perfectly called/officiated game"? Such perfect game will never happen, no matter how many cameras or officials are involved. You've got to be kidding! EIGHT?

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