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Friday, May 22, 2009
Big 12 not interested in sitting down struggling officials

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It was interesting for me to see that Big 12 athletic directors took no action this week on Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne's plan to sit down struggling game officials for repeated substandard work.

Osborne told the Omaha World-Herald that his idea, which formerly was a part of the Big Eight rules, received little traction among the Big 12's current athletic directors.

"I didn't detect a lot of support from the other A.D.'s," Osborne told the World-Herald. 

Osborne had hoped to reapply an old Big Eight policy that allowed a school to have certain officials not work its games the year after such officials graded poorly.

Big 12 supervisor of football officials, Walt Anderson, told Osborne that officials already are docked for bad performances. They face subsequent reductions in their game schedules or a potential move to a non-BCS conference if they continually struggle.   

"He felt the current system is working well," Osborne said.

I think part of the reason for Osborne's passion in this area is that he is the only current Big 12 athletic director who served as a head college football coach. And as such, he realizes how much officiating can impact the livelihood of the program.

Former basketball coaches like Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers and Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins probably share those concerns when basketball officiating is considered. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds cares the same way about track and its governance. And Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder would have the same concerns about golf.

But I think that Osborne's football experience makes him more cognizant than others about its importance in that sport.