If you haven't heard yet today a very big decision has come down from the Pac 10/12 League office and Commissioner Larry Scott. As Coug fans we are well versed in terrible officiating and how it can adversely effect the outcome of games. Larry Scott has announced that Mike Pereira will be moving into a leadership position as the interim Head of Pac 10 Football Officiating. After the break I'll get into why this is such a crucial move and why we should all be very happy with our Commissioner and his latest decree.
First of all, if you are looking for the full announcement you can find it here. The first indicator that this is a great decision on the part of Larry Scott is in Mr. Pereira's former job title Vice President of Officiating for the NFL.
Let that sink in for just a moment, our new (though possibly temporary) head of officiating in football comes from the NFL. For those of you who think Mr. Pereira's name sounds familiar, it's because you likely saw him during one of the numerous Fox broadcast NFL games (including the Super Bowl) where he lent his considerable experience to explaining the intricacies of calls as well as the difficulties of being one of the refs on the field. Before leaving the NFL and lending his talents to Fox he also had a segment on the NFL Network each Tuesday which aired during NFL Total Access. This is where I first became a fan of Pereira's because he could so easily and comprehensively explain why controversial calls were made like they were, and while I could disagree with him, I could also understand why the call had to be made like it was at the sport's highest level. Pereira brought a consistency to his work which he also demanded of the officiating crews that he oversaw during his time with the NFL.
This might just be the best thing Larry Scott has done since the expansion deals went through. He has brought in a man who knows how to officiate who will now reorganize the way the Pac 12's refs will be selected, trained, and held accountable. As a Denver Broncos fan I can say that a few years ago when Ed Hochuli infamously blew a call (a rarity in his career) I was ecstatic because it royally screwed the San Diego Chargers and gave us the game, but on Monday Hochuli was made to stand tall before Pereira and held accountable for it. While I don't remember the exact punishment, I can say with certainty that Hochuli has not made a call like that since. If Pereira brings with him his even handed approach, while also revamping what has consistently been the most shoddy selection and training criteria for officials in the BCS then the Pac 12 will soon have the highest quality officiating in all of college football.
This is a bold move that our Commissioner just made, the kind that Tom Hansen and the old guard never would have thought to have considered trying. The SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 over the years have routinely trained with NFL referees despite the rule differences between levels and it has paid dividends. The Pac 10 has not. Will this put an end to all bad calls? In a word, NO. However, what it will do is lend the Pac 12 instant credibility as it regards their officiating practices, and hopefully spare us the Oregon-Oklahoma debacles that have cost the conference in the past.
What's more intriguing is that this could well provide the blue print for revamping the other side of officiating in the Pac 12 which has cost WSU dearly in the last couple of years, Basketball. If this move pans out and the Pac 12 moving forward can say they've got the best Football officials in all the land, there is no way that they can continue to ignore the deficiencies on the hardwood. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a crucial changing of the guard from the old to the new and it represents a committment to excellence and consistency that we haven't seen in our officiating. Larry Scott may not have found the Pac 10's house to be well built and in order when he got here, but it seems that he's determined to leave it in much better shape than he found it in. There is only one word for this.... GOOD.