From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, September 19, 2014
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2014 WEEKLY BULLETIN #3
The Southern California Football Association consists of 37 colleges divided into two divisions for competition. One of the individuals who had the vision to put this together eight years ago is Commissioner Jim Sartoris. Jim was a star player at Notre Dame High School, and was an All-American quarterback at Glendale College before going on to play at the University of Washington. Jim started his coaching career at Glendale College, and later served as the head football coach at the college for 17 years. Jim spent a total of 40 years at Glendale College as an assistant coach, head coach, and athletic director. He has been married to Karen for 40 years, with three children, and his forth grandchild on the way. Commissioner Sartoris has the unenviable and thankless job of scheduling, ruling on eligibility issues, and keeping 37 athletic directors and coaches focused on the mission and goals of the SCFA. Jim's dedication and passion for the SCFA football program, including the officiating program, is special. Each of us owe a debt of gratitude to Commissioner Sartoris for what he does for community college football in Southern California.
In a game last week, the quarterback threw a backward pass to a running back, who ran outside the tackle box looking for a receiver. Seeing no one open, he threw the ball away out of bounds, beyond the line of scrimmage. This should have been ruled intentional grounding. Only the player who controls the snap may legally throw the ball away. Rule 7-3-2-h (Exception).
Officials, when communicating with head coaches, remember the phrase, "silence can never be misquoted." Answer football questions with football answers and avoid long debates. Answer questions in football terms and move on. What you think you have told a coach is never what they hear. Don't be misquoted.
On a scrimmage kick (punt), a receiver may raise his hand to shade his eyes from the sun. Any waving signal, however, will kill the play when the ball is caught or recovered. Rule 2-8-1-d. Back judges need to make this a teaching opportunity with the receiver before the kick (and preferably during warm-ups). Speaking of back judges, you must be on the goal line on long plays resulting in touchdowns. Fs and Ss might get a pass for not being at the goal line to bracket a long play, but Bs do not. You must be there.
Remember that, pursuant to NCAA rules, there must be contact to have pass inference. A defender can legally wave his arms and hands in front of a receiver, blocking the receiver's vision. As long as there is no contact, there cannot be pass interference. Rule 7-3-8-c.
Last weekend, in a game in Northern California, on an untouched kickoff that landed in the end zone, a kicking team player recovered the ball, and was awarded a touchdown. All seven officials allowed this ruling to stand. We work too hard in Southern California for this to happen. It's hard to believe that not one of the officials knew the rule. When a free kick untouched by Team B touches the ground in the end zone, it is a touchback. Rule 6-1-7-a.
Officials need to develop philosophies on officiating. The game is too fast to be 100% certain on all of our calls. Therefore, a set of "when in question" philosophies has been developed to help. These philosophies have been developed through extensive research and statistics. Use them! You can find them by referring to the "When-In-Question Rules) on Pages FR-114-115 of the rule book, as well as studying the section on "Officiating Philosophies" in the SCCFOA mechanics manual.
The following play happens at least once each year. Hopefully, it will ONLY happen once this year. Team A player leaves the field of play, and Team A huddles with only ten players. A purported substitute enters the game, and the purported "replaced" player simulates leaving the field, but stops near the sideline for a "hide-out'' play. This is unsportsmanlike conduct, and should result in a 15-yard penalty from the previous spot. It is a simulated substitution used to confuse an opponent. Rule 9-2-2-b.
Looking at the game reports, officials are calling a high number of fouls. Looking a little closer, however, more than half are no-brainer offsides, encroachments, and false starts. I refer to these kinds fouls as "coaching fouls." Nothing wrecks a football game more than too many flags. Coaches can help by working during the week to eliminate these coaching fouls.
At the next pregame conference, Referees, please discuss who has responsibility for ruling forward and backward passes. Ruling a clearly backward pass as forward and incomplete, thereby taking a touchdown away, is a hard one for me to defend to a coach.
Officials must do a better job of recognizing and staying with their keys. Keys refer to the offensive player each official is assigned to watch. These keys change, depending on the offensive team's formation and motion. When officials misidentify or do not stay with keys, they miss holding, receivers going out of bounds, pass interference, and other important calls. With seven officials, every eligible receiver should have an assigned official watching him. Please discuss keys at every pregame.
One of the things good officials do is self-evaluate their performance after every game. I have been with many officials who write a few things down after each game. I challenge each of you to self-evaluate your performance after your next game. Start with a simple, but important concept: focus. Did you stay completely focused on every play? It seems easy, but it is not. If you can stay focused on the average of 175 plays, for ten seconds before the snap, during the play, and for ten seconds after, you will have succeeded. That means you thought of nothing other than the play. Self-evaluate this part of your officiating after your next game.
We have many newer college officials in our association. The game, at this level, is so much quicker, players are bigger, and coaches are more knowledgeable (and sometimes, more vocal). Seek out constructive criticism from others on the crew. Veteran officials have an obligation to be honest if questions are asked. You need not be overly critical, and pointing out some positives is always a good thing; but taking the road of least resistance like "you looked ok to me" will not help anyone improve. Rookie officials need to listen to the constructive criticism, and receive it as intended: to make you better! You should never answer "yes, but..."
Good luck this week! Thank you for your dedication and passion for this great game!
"I've found that prayers work best when you have big players." - Knute Rockne
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association