From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, September,27 2019
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2019 WEEKLY BULLETIN #4
Recently, we have seen numerous players wearing "hoodies" underneath their jerseys and shoulder pads. At this time, according to the rules, there appears to be nothing illegal about this, even if the back of the hoodie comes out at the top of the shoulder pads; provided it doesn't cover the numbers. There seem to be no safety issues. Referees, for the next few weeks, please report to me if you are seeing hoodies, but there is no need for players to remove them yet.
We had a quarterback who had become a runner downfield and slid head-first to try to gain additional yardage. This is not the same as a runner who slides feet-first giving himself up. The forward sliding QB/runner is not a defenseless player (and not down) until he is on the ground. The feet-first sliding runner is down and defenseless as soon as he starts his slide. (Rule 2-27-14-j)
When a player's helmet comes off during play, the player must immediately stop participating. (Rule 9-1-17) We had a play where the helmet came off, the player put it back on and continued to play. It doesn't matter if he puts it back on, he cannot continue to participate. The crew discussed it in the locker room, but it would have been better to take care of it on the field. Remember, it is not UNS but merely a personal foul.
In order to have defensive pass interference, you must have a catchable forward pass. (Rule 7-3-8-c) Often times, the official covering the action on the receiver has a difficult time determining if the pass was catchable. The other officials in the vicinity need to step up and help. When in doubt, these are fantastic athletes and the ball is catchable.
The hardest thing to develop in officiating in all sports is good judgment. We study the rulebook and mechanics, but good judgment must be learned and developed. As a young official, I developed my philosophy of officiating by memorizing the "when in question" statements from the rulebook. After 40 years, they are still in the book with little change. Basically, there are 18 short statements on page 134 of the rule book, including: when in question, it is a catch, it is a forward pass, forward progress is stopped, the ball is catchable, etc. These days, I see fewer officials building their judgment philosophies using these "when in question" rules. I understand that replay and video are a factor in this. However, I still encourage all SCCFOA officials to use them in all the 50/50 calls we encounter on the field. Study them this week.
Recording the players who committed a foul is important, but I see too many officials pull out their game card and start writing when they should be dead-ball officiating. At our level, officials need to focus on dead-ball action. After the play is over, your attention needs to go immediately to players and their actions. Addressing trash-talking or chicken fighting needs to be done, ideally without a flag, using good communication skills. There is old saying, "Officiate until the colors separate," and it still stands today. You should be able to remember the number and foul and write it down during the next pause in the action.
At this level, we need to report all fouls to the coaches. Reporting a foul with an incorrect number is not acceptable. Please double-check the number of the player committing the foul before reporting it to the coach. When the Referee announces the wrong number of the player committing a foul, or we report the wrong number to the coach, the crew loses credibility. We've all heard "we don't have a number ___!" It makes the coach's job harder.
Because some of our colleges play home games on high school fields, we need to discuss some issues. High school goal posts are wider than NCAA. Unfortunately, we just have to accept that. More importantly, high school hash marks are wider. I have instructed officials to move the ball to where it should be spotted on the hash marks and add an additional four yards when officiating on a high school field. A tip: before the game, spot the two back end zone pylons four yards closer to the center of the field. This will give you a point of reference during the game.
Speaking of hash marks, remember that a team can have the ball spotted anywhere between the hash marks for tries, free kicks and after touchbacks.
During a down in which a scrimmage kick occurs, the two or three "protectors" cannot block any player below the waist. This was missed in a couple of our games last Saturday. Most crews have the Umpire and Referee watching this action. These are safety fouls that need to be called. Talk about it this week, but remember that it only applies if there is a kick during the down, not just a scrimmage kick formation. (Rule 9-1-6-c)
Similarly, a coach sent in a video where there were two low blocks by players on a kickoff. Keep it simple: blocking below the waist is always a foul during any kick play and after a change of possession. These are also safety fouls that need to be called.
I understand that most of these bulletins appear negative. As you might guess, coaches very rarely send me questions and video clips that are positive. Reviewing video plays each week, I have seen excellent mechanics, hustle, and judgment. With 18 games each week, averaging 175 plays a game, we rule on 3150 plays each Saturday. About 50 are sent in for review. Keep up the dedication to this great game of college football.
Did you know football officials started wearing the long black pants in college games in 2011. What a great change in appearance! Mike Pereira, now with Fox Sports, takes credit for the change when he was with the NFL.
"It's what you learn, after you know it all, that counts." - John Wooden
Director of Football Operations