From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2019 WEEKLY BULLETIN #3
Last year, five community colleges in Maricopa County, Arizona, dropped football. Since community college football officiating is a stepping stone to the next level, those officials had no games to officiate. Currently, about 14 of those officials have joined our association. I have personally vetted all officials, and each of them are meeting the standards of our association. They are extremely dedicated, as the closest school to the majority of them is a 5 1/2 hour drive.
Targeting calls for the first two weeks are down from previous years. A couple of videos have been sent to the Commissioner and me asking for targeting to be removed. We supported the officials on the calls, but make them big! Helmet-to-helmet contact is not a correct explanation. Make sure you know the rules. No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of the helmet (Rule 9-1-3); and no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck of a defenseless opponent (Rule 9-1-4). Remember, to be targeting, we must have an indicator (such as a launch, crouch, leading with the helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow, or lowering the head before attacking). Make sure to see an indicator.
We have touched on unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, such as celebrations. Always remember to use common sense; but any unsporting act that demeans the game or an opponent, such as throat-slashing, or blowing kisses to the opponent's bench or fans should be penalized. (9-2-1-a-1) There is no wiggle room on these calls. This is a game control issue.
The officials association (SCCFOA) and the SCFA provide two paid observers to each school twice during the season. These observers are there to monitor the officiating, game management, condition of the facilities, etc. I have received some calls from athletic directors that are confused by the $50 game fee next to the observer's name in Arbiter. That is not paid by the schools, it is paid by SCCFOA. Thank you to each of these observers. You are invaluable!
For the first two weeks of the season, we had three games that started an hour late due to bus issues. Athletic directors, please double- and triple-check that the buses have been ordered for each road game. SCFA has no policy regarding late starts. The officials will wait, but it should not be happening this often. This isn't fair to the home team, the fans or the officials.
As I write this bulletin, I am watching an NFL game that involved an inadvertent whistle that cost a team a touchdown. As an official for many years, there is nothing more humiliating than an inadvertent whistle; especially one that takes a turnover or touchdown away. At our level, without replay, the QB pass or fumble would be ruled an incomplete pass, not an inadvertent whistle. With that said, we still need whistles to end plays. Coaches complain about no whistles, especially in the middle of the field. They teach their players to play to the whistle. I know that the whistle isn't what ends the play, but let's help out the coaches and the players.
On a forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage, an interior lineman may not have been more than three yards beyond the neutral zone until the pass is released. (Rule 7-3-10) Like any other rule, let's not be too technical. Over the years, I've found that successful football officials are able to imagine the game, use common sense, and always have a feel of what's going to happen to the game if you make that call. If it is obvious, make the call. Be aware, however, that players can move quickly downfield AFTER the pass has been released. Don't be fooled.
Remember, neither offense nor defense may block below the waist, even from the front, if they are more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. (Rule 9-1-6) Just like ineligible linemen downfield, make it truly beyond. Do not split hairs. When in doubt, it is not a foul. Know the LOS each play so you know the boundary lines.
One of the toughest, most important, and challenging calls we see is the catch-fumble / incomplete pass call. This happens on short passes where there is immediate contact on the receiver. In order to get this play correct, you need to develop a philosophy. Did the receiver complete the catch process and make some type of "football move"? This is where philosophy, experience, and judgment are necessary. The latter two you will need to work on yourself (although being in the right position using sound mechanics will help with judgment). The SCCFOA philosophy: when in question, the pass is incomplete. No cheap turnovers.
Head Line Judge, the chain crew is under your control. It could be a crew member's first game and the crew may need training on their responsibilities. A competent crew may save the officiating crew, but a bad crew will definitely hurt the game. A few things to remember:
- No cell phones during the game
- Make sure they return after halftime (find them well before kick-off)
- No rooting for their team (they are now a part of the officiating crew)
- No commenting on officials' calls
- When in the team area (between the 25s), keep the coaches back for them
- During hurry-up offenses, HL can drop a beanbag to set the box and back stake
- Referees, do not wait for the chains to be set to wind the clock
No player shall grasp and then twist, turn or pull the face mask or any helmet opening. (Rule 9-1-8-b). Grasping the facemask is NOT a foul. It is not a foul unless there is a twist, turn or pull.
From our observers:
- When giving forward progress, do not extend your forward foot out. Simply stand naturally, feet together, and Umpires always spot off the forward foot.
- Deep officials need to move in after each play, especially if the game starts getting out of control. Your presence and voice will help keep control.
- After you call a foul, continue to officiate. Don't write on your card immediately. Memorize the details and write the details on your game card during a break.
- Avoid talking to coaches before the game during the 45-minute warm-up time.
"When you're GOOD at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're GREAT at something, they'll tell you." - Walter Payton
Director of Football Operations