From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, September 07, 2012
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2012 WEEKLY BULLETIN #2
The first week of games went well, and we are off to a good start in 2012. Keep up the good work. The competitive balance of teams this year appears good as evidenced by the fact that three of our top programs suffered losses in the first week. Although the games were well-officiated overall, I have some thoughts from last week's games. Please remember that this is intended to be constructive in a never-ending effort to make us all better officials.
- Teams must warm-up in the area from their 45-yard line through their end zone. The area between the 45-yard lines should not be used by ether team during the warm-up time. Don't be too lenient, especially this early in the season.
- Officials need to be aware of teams entering and exiting before the game in order to prevent any unsporting issues. A crew this past weekend did a good job preventing a potential problem, but it could have been avoided if we simply made sure to keep teams on their sidelines immediately prior to the coin toss and opening kickoff.
- "No player, substitute, coach or other person subject to the rules shall use abusive, threatening or obscene language or gestures, or engage in such acts that provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game . . . ." Rule 9-2-1-a-1. Coaches and administrators are urged to discuss this conduct with their teams and are expected to support the officials' actions to enforce this rule.
- Discuss false starts at the next pre-game. We must shut a play down when we have any movement by an offense lineman or back that simulates the start of the play. (See Rule 7-1-2-b-1) If we let it go, what happens next is always harder to explain. On this topic last weekend, a side judge shut the play down for a false start by a guard. Regardless of whether the call was correct, why would the side judge ever be looking at a guard pre-snap?
- I personally witnessed a play in which the defense encroached into the neutral zone and attempted to get back. Most players stopped playing, but the QB took the snap and threw a pass. The defensive back committed defensive pass interference, and the ball was intercepted. In fairness, the penalties were administered correctly. However, the whole scenario looked bad. If there is this much confusion, let's shut it down for defensive offside.
A few quick items to remember: Face-guarding under NCAA rules is NOT pass interference; contact is required. See Rule 7-3-8-c. In addition, ineligible man downfield is a big call; make sure it is big and has an effect on the play before we make that call.
SCCFOA officiating philosophies are posted on the SCCFOA website. I suggest you each review them, and go over them in your next pre-game. They are there to help you with your decision-making processes.
Please review Rule 2-16-4-b. There is no requirement that a kicker place the ball on the tee for a free kick. A kicker may place the ball (1) on the tee, (2) on the ground, or (3) on the ground and contacting the tee.
I have seen some video of umpires stepping off penalties. This is old school and takes too much time. Exercise your math skills, and simply start at the enforcement spot and hustle to the new spot. The line judge should be there to help you correct an incorrect enforcement.
As you each know, a rules test is given at the officials' clinic every year. I'm happy to say that our officials have gotten better scores each year. Like anything else in life, improvement is always expected. Remember, this is the only job where you're expected to be perfect in your first game, and get better each week. Rogers Redding, the NCAA rules interpreter, has offered some excellent ideas on studying the rulebook. Rogers suggests reading each rule, and then writing down the rule in your own words. The next step is to explain the rule to someone not familiar with the rules. If that person cannot understand your explanation, you need to understand it and explain it better. I encourage officials to try Rogers's suggestions on a different rule each week.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when a calling official starts to write down their foul before they report to the referee, or when the umpire takes time to write his foul down before he marks off the penalty. Our games are long enough. Work on remembering the penalty until you have a break in the action.
As you all know, with the ramifications of concussions and other injuries high on the list of all sports governing bodies, football made some safety-related rule changes for 2012. To discourage kickoff returns (the most dangerous play in football), the kickoff was moved up five yards and free kick touchbacks are now brought out to the 25. If any playerŐs helmet comes off, the clock is stopped after the play (unless it is the ball carrier, in which case the play is stopped immediately when the helmet comes off), and the player must sit out for one play (unless it comes off as a result of a foul). In addition, a player whose helmet comes off must stop participating immediately. Any participation after that is a personal foul, and he is treated as a player obviously out of the play for purposes of personal fouls committed against him.
"Football is a high impact sport. Officials must be constantly aware of any act that compromises the safety of players. Protecting players is paramount among our roles on the field. Officials have been instructed to err on the side of safety." Byron Boston NFL Field Judge and Supervisor of Officials in the Southland Conference.
When I started football officiating, we didn't have video of every play. For the most part, officials were able to hide their mistakes on the field. Times have changed. I sincerely appreciate the officials who share their mistakes with fellow officials and with me. We all want to get better. We can learn from others' mistakes so we don't have to make them ourselves. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. In order to keep these emails fresh, I ask you to let me know what happens in your games, so that I can share the good and the not-so-good, all in an effort to make everyone better.
Remember: Coaches will not always believe in all your calls. What they need to do is believe in "you." Good luck this week!
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association