Monday, January 27, 2014

So You Think You Can Ref College Football? Here's Your Chance

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Anyone who's watched a college football game knows that officiating isn't always the most accurate of disciplines. There's nothing more frustrating when calls get blown, penalties are ignored, and both fans and coaches flip out and go apeshit over a perceived bias from what's usually an older man in a black-and-white-striped shirt with a whistle.

If you've ever watched a game officiated by Pac-12 Conference refs, then, the thought that you think you can do better must have crossed your mind. We can at least make ourselves sound a little less dumb than the league's most famous official, the now-retired Jay Stricherz, known fondly as Glasses Ref.

Alright, bleacher refs and barcalounger linesmen, time to put your money where your mouth is.

The Pac-12 has put out a call for new football referees, presumably to help handle the inevitable attrition that comes from a job that's not full-time and as mentioned before often involves older folks.

And while the listing notes that people without prior experience won't be considered, odds are that if not enough former rec league or middle school football refs apply that criteria will be lifted. Regardless of one's prior experience, you'd expect the Pac-12 to train its officials in its own way, right?

For instance, completely forgetting how to spot a ball in the final seconds of a game (with the clock ticking) and one team driving for a game-winning field goal, that doesn't sound like a natural skill. It seems learned, right Wisconsin fans?

Also, I'm guessing a certain amount of teaching goes into getting officials to make sure to announce, after each and every time a quarterback throws the ball away in a manner that does not warrant an intentional grounding call, you're able to correctly turn on your microphone and announce, in a self-affirming tone, that "there was no intentional grounding on the play because the quarterback was outside the pocket and threw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage."

Some other job requirements, according to the listing:

• Understanding of college sports (Which means that you don't walk into a football stadium on a Saturday afternoon and asked "what sport are we playing here today?")
• Must have exceptional positive attitude and team based philosophy (Translation: call an equal number of penalties on both teams, whether deserving or not; and always smile while doing so)
• Must have exceptional oral/written communication and interpersonal skills (You must be able to ignore questions from angry coaches, while also be able to write down the numbers of the players you flag so that you can cross those ones off your Ref Flag Bingo cards in the locker room)

Don't know what the job pays, but it does come with a sweet wardrobe, nonstop hatred from the crowd and, if you're lucky, maybe some uneaten food thrown at you for a nice post-game meal.

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