NCF Nation: Walt Anderson

IRVING, Texas -- The big topic of conversation at the Big 12's spring meetings Wednesday was doing the league's part to help piece together the College Football Playoff selection committee, but plenty more took place inside the meeting room, too. Here are a few notes from the Big 12's business this week.

Big 12 plays officiating guinea pig

Conference officials approved the use of eight-man officiating crews for the 2013 season. It'll be a one-year experiment that's revisited at the end of the season, and the Big 12 will be the only league in college football to use the additional official, who will be located in the offensive backfield, on the side of the quarterback, opposite the referee.

The crews, which will cost an additional $2,000 per school, will be used for all conference games and four selected nonconference games.

"Most people think our officials are as good as any in the country, and [Big 12 coordinator of officials] Walt [Anderson] is a seasoned and successful coordinator and an innovative guy. I think that's why [the national coordinator and other league coordinators] thought the Big 12 was a pretty good place to try it out."

Bowl tie-ins getting straightened out

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the Big 12 won't officially announce its bowl tie-ins this week, but the picture is coming into shape during the week of meetings, and the Alamo Bowl could replace the Cotton Bowl as the top Big 12 game for teams who don't qualify for the four-team playoff.

"We're not finished with that yet, but it looks like it's going to work that way," Bowlsby said. "We're not quite there, but we're not far."

He reiterated his stance that the Big 12 wants its bowl games to remain anchored in Texas but also have games out west (i.e., Arizona and/or California) and a game in Florida (possibly the Russell Athletic Bowl or Gator Bowl), as well as a game with a destination within driving distance for fans. That sentiment was driven in part by 25,000 Iowa State fans showing up at last year's Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

NCAA briefs Big 12 on lawsuits

NCAA attorney Donald Remy updated Big 12 officials on class-action lawsuits filed by former players claiming the NCAA used their images in video games without their permission. Former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon are among the plaintiffs.

"This is years away from being resolved, and there’s probably an appeals process after that," Bowlsby said.

He declined to speculate on what a loss for the NCAA might mean, citing "too many moving parts" in any fallout from the lawsuits.

Snyder weighs in on rules change

July, 27, 2011
DALLAS -- Big 12 coordinator of officials Walt Anderson opened up a presentation on Monday morning with one of the most infamous plays of the college football season in 2010: The Bronx Salute. Adrian Hilburn's salute to a group of Kansas State fans that had traveled from the Little Apple to the Big Apple drew a flag, leaving the Wildcats 18 yards from a 36-all tie instead of 3, and an eventual loss.

Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, however, isn't complaining, though the example has been used as an incorrect interpretation of the new celebration rules preparing to hit college football this fall.

"There was an awful lot of media attention paid to it, talk shows, etc., etc., across the nation. So that perhaps had some impact on [the change]," Snyder said. "But it certainly wasn't anything that I said or -- it happened. And what do we say? It is what it is or it was what it was."

The new rule allows for points to be taken off the board for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the field of play, and though Anderson and his officiating brethren insist they'll be erring on the conservative side -- both in the scope and location of the celebrations -- Snyder is asking for just one thing: consistency.

"When you get outside of the conference, play with officials that come from a different conference, you're not sure if you'll have the same continuity," Snyder said. "The best way for it not to be an issue is to make sure that your youngsters don't do anything that would threaten the letter of the rule itself."

How to do that? What else? Discipline, Snyder says, a trait his teams over the years have ultimately become known for.

"It's hard sometimes because every football coach in the country will tell you -- and you would feel the same way -- that if you were coaching that you would want young people to be passionate about the game and play with great spirit and emotion because it is that kind of a game. And when you do that, you know, sometimes you just show your joy, and it's strictly that," Snyder said. "It's not trying to demean anyone. It's just joy of accomplishing something on the field. And to get penalized, really it's kind of a hard thing for young guys."