Get Ready for Fall 2022

From: "Rich Kollen" -
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Friday, September 10, 2021



Well, the first week is over, and for the 1st time in approximately 20 months, our student-athletes were able to participate in a meaningful college football game. Unfortunately, we had some COVID issues, as three games were postponed for COVID-19 protocol. We are keeping our fingers crossed for this week.

If you are interested in college athletics, and haven’t been living under a rock lately, I’m sure you’ve heard of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) issues. On September 1, California Governor Newsome signed SB 26, permitting community college athletes to earn money based on their NIL. Previously, NCAA rules prohibited student-athletes from earning such money in an effort to preserve their amateurism. Scholarships and stipends were used to compensate the student-athletes for their efforts on the field, court, track, etc. How this affects community college athletics has yet to be determined. Under the new law, student-athletes can earn money from the following, without limitation:

· Sponsored social media posts or advertisements
· Sponsors on video platforms like YouTube or Twitch
· Endorsements of local or national businesses
· Training lessons or camps
Autograph and merchandise sales

The NCAA rules have prohibited tinted eye shields for at least the last ten years with no exceptions. Rule 1-4-6-c. This was done as a safety concern, as trainers need to see the eyes of a player to evaluate for concussions and other injuries. There are no medical exceptions allowed. As reported by officials last weekend, one of our colleges had several tinted eye shields, and the officials informed the coaches that they were illegal. It is great that we catch this in warmups, but nothing was said to these coaches or players during their scrimmage two weeks ago. We must be consistent with all of our rule applications. This is hard for me to defend.

The location on the field where the ball is next put into play is important. If the rules permit the team to choose a spot, make sure to get this from the coach prior to placing the ball on the ground. Nothing looks worse than delaying play when the coach requests a different spot. On kickoffs and punts, I would suggest getting near a coach prior to the down to ask where they’d like the ball on a touchback. On the same note, officials should be aware that ball position is commonly referred to as positions 1-2-3-4-5. Position one is the closest to the press box, position five is the farthest from the press box, position three is the middle of the field, and positions two and four are the appropriate uprights. Referees, don’t announce a position of the ball by these numbers, as the fans (and most of the players/coaches) will not know the lingo.

I was able to see the last half of a game this past Saturday. Besides a completely empty stadium due to Covid protocol, the teams played their hearts out and officials worked hard. On a tight call in the end zone, neither official gave a signal immediately, but they discussed it and finally came out with the correct call, a touchdown. Timing is important. Don’t rush a call, but when it takes too long, we lose credibility. It is a delicate balance. Try to speed up the process, but getting the play correct is most important. The time of the game can be shortened by mutual agreement of both teams. They can never agree to running time in a college game. If the teams agree to shorten the game, we shorten each quarter remaining. Rule 3-2-2-a.

All of our officials are vaccinated and are not required to wear masks during the game. However, when conversing closely with a coach, trainer, administrator, player, etc., I encourage you to wear a mask. It is just courtesy, at this time.

In discussing personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, we sometimes get into a gray area. Let’s save unsportsmanlike conduct fouls for the decorum-related acts as best we can. Pushing and shoving after the play is over is a personal foul (unless WELL after the play…when in doubt, it is not WELL after). Remember that two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in a game requires the ejection of the player. Rule 9-2-6-a. Under our state decorum policy, such person must also sit out the next game. If that is required, so be it. However, let’s make sure they earn it before ejecting a player or coach.

After each game, the official submits a game report discussing issues. This week it was filled with issues about equipment, scoreboards, yard-line markers, improper marks on the field, and other game management issues. I know we have not played for months, so athletic departments need to check the stadiums to make sure that everything is proper for the management of a college football game.

David Weinstein was a community college football official for over 25 years here in SoCal. He was one of our first crew chiefs when we went to crews about 12 years ago. David retired after the 2019 season. I’ve asked him to bring some of his thoughts. I will give them to you periodically during the season.

The most important things are focus and communication. Focus: you can’t officiate football (or probably any other sport) if you are not giving it 100% of your attention. We’ve heard “no plays off”, but No Dead Ball Periods Off either. Think for a minute how much goes on in the Dead Ball Period—end of the play spot, penalty analysis, enforcement, subs, clock issues, etc. First down or not, late hit or not, taunting, retaliation are just a few of the things about which we must rule. Action in a bench area and coach’s questions, are a couple more. And that’s before we check the down, count players, prepare for the next snap. Next week we’ll discuss communication.

Did you know the College All-Star Game was a preseason American football game played from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League (NFL) champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. The game was started to popularize the NFL. Mission accomplished. Over the years, the NFL was 31-11 against the college All-Stars.

As we head into this solemn weekend, let’s never forget 9/11/2001.

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations