From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, September 23, 2016
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2016 WEEKLY BULLETIN #4
Generally, all of our officials start out as high school (and lower-level) football officials. The big difference when they move to the college level, other than the speed and the size of the athletes, is accountability. High school officials are rarely held accountable by anyone for what they call or do not call on the football field (with the possible exception of ejections). At the college level, coaches send me several plays that they want to have evaluated each and every week. We have a team of experienced officials that look over these plays. If the ruling is questionable, I generally contact the official first to ask questions. I then report back to our coaches. I think the coaches know that I am honest with them. If we miss something, I will admit that. With all the video available on Hudl, iPads, or parents' iPhones, we are scrutinized on every call. This didn't used to be the case. It takes a while for officials to accept this; and hopefully, eventually, appreciate it. Officials should not take anything personally. It is a fast game, and nobody's perfect. I encourage everyone to use the film and these bulletins as learning and training tools. Our officials have been instructed if they call a foul, it should be supported by video. Make them BIG!
Any waving signal by a player in the general vicinity of a player receiving a kick will cause the ball to become dead when caught or recovered. The typical signal is the players near the receiver give the waving arms below their waist (get back / get away signal). The play is dead at the end of the kick, although the returner is not afforded any protection against contact, provided it is not unnecessary. This is an "invalid fair catch signal." The ball is dead when caught or recovered, but there is no penalty.
Clear plastic eye shields are legal and require no doctor verification. No other shields are legal: shaded, colored, etc., even with doctor's verification. This is a safety issue that is in the rules for a reason.
A drop kick is when the kicker drops the ball on the ground then kicks it. You can use this type of kick for field goals. In over 40 years, I have never seen it done, but be ready if it happens! Then make sure to get me the video! I'd love to see it.
We discussed uniform issues last week. Do not bother the head coach with these issues. Trainers and equipment personnel will generally handle them. The commissioner is sending information on this to ADs and coaches. During the 45 minutes you are on the field before the game, you should look for these uniform and equipment issues. Bill McCabe told me he handled it this way during warm ups: Ask the athlete why he is not playing tonight? He'll respond with "what are you talking about ref, I am playing." Bill would respond by saying "not until you are dressed properly." If you see a player during the game not meeting the uniform or equipment requirements of the rules, send him out until it is fixed. All crews need to be consistent in this enforcement. Try not to give any penalties or charge a team with a time out. Just get him out and get the issue fixed.
As far our appearance, we are so fortunate to wear the black pants as opposed to the old school white knickers. However, sometimes these pants, bought off the rack, don't fit correctly and look sloppy. Please take notice and if custom tailoring is needed, please do so. I cannot stress how important it is to look professional on the field. Appearance dictates a lot of our credibility.
Referees are responsible for providing both head coaches a card (available on the SCCFOA web site) listing all of the members of the crew. I was under the assumption this is being done, but some coaches have reported that they did not receive cards. Please make sure to do this.
When three or more defensive players have a ball carrier wrapped up and forward progress has been stopped, we need whistles to end the play. Letting it go on only leads to bigger problems. I know we are all worried about the "dreaded" inadvertent whistle. We need to have whistles to end plays at this level.
There have been some pass interference calls made on plays where both receiver and defender are merely hand fighting down the field. No advantage is being gained, and there is no restriction. These should be no calls. Remember, for DPI, we need to see one of the following: (1) early contact, not playing the ball, (2) playing through the back, (3) grab and restrict, (4) arm bar, (5) cut off, or (6) hook and turn. If you can't put your foul into one of those categories, you don't have a foul.
We have had a few situations in which players ended up in the opponent's team area as the play ended, without officials nearby. When players go into an opponent's bench, we need to have at least two officials cleaning this up. Ideally, there should be three or four. Referees need to be in there if it is the quarterback. Back judge should be ready to help, when necessary.
When players get into scuffles, break it up. Use language like "knock that stuff off!" Your actions during these times separate the good from the not-so-good officiating. Letting the players know of your presence diffuses many issues. This is generally better than a flag. That said, if you have to throw a flag, make sure you know what happened. Too often, we are only flagging the retaliation.
Continue to "dead-ball officiate." Stay with the players until we have a separation of colors. The ball should be the last thing you worry about. Separate the teams.
Determining if a pass is forward or backward can be difficult. It is where the passer releases the ball and where it is first touched. At our level, without replay, when in doubt, a pass is forward. If it is backward, I expect the proper official to signal such a backward pass by "punching back." This is important.
The only time a touchback results in the ball being put on the 25-yard line is on a kickoff or free kick after a safety. On all other touchback situations (punt, interception, etc.), the ball goes to the 20-yard line.
Remember the new rule that if a ball carrier goes into a feet-first slide, the ball is dead where he begins the slide. Spots are important. If you aren't sure, the rule of thumb is to place the ball two yards behind where the ball carrier ended his slide. Again, this is only for feet-first slides. Even more important, once the slide starts, there cannot be a fumble. The ball is dead.
Conference play started last week. Games always become more intense requiring good communication with coaches. We still continue to spend too much time with penalty enforcement. Crews need to continue to work to speed up the process. Any time there are delays, it causes a slight loss of credibility, and worse, gives players time to talk to opposing players, which leads to bigger issues as the game progresses. We need to have no tolerance of trash talking by players.
Good luck this week, and thank you for all your hard work!
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association