There was a forum post here yesterday about my recent editorial for Detroit Sports Nation regarding Jim Delany owing an apology to college football. Here is the follow-up article if anyone is interested.
More information has come to light about the crew for the game this past Saturday. One of the officials is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Furthermore, I take a look at one possible solution to the problem regarding compensation for officials.
Thanks for reading.
If so, why did they agree to them?
We've been gypped by the Big Ten too many times in favor of OSU since 1973 culminating with that disgusting display of officiating by Ohio homers yesterday. If you care enough, feel free to email, message, call, or write a letter to Jim Delany and tell him we don't want to see this garbage ever again. There are of course more important things in the world that we should change and I highly recommend you do those as well.
1. Illinois Office:
Phone #: 847 696 1010
5440 Park Place
Rosemont, IL 600018
2. NYC Office
Phone #: 212 243 3290
900 Third Avenue, 36th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Big Ten Feedback:
We need to do something about B1G officiating to make sure these problems are minimized in the future. It can be done. (NOTE: I've updated this thread to account for comments here and on the regular board.)
As a historical reminder, it was the Big Ten that introduced instant replay to college football. In the 2002 season, Joe Paterno was furious that blown calls on fumbles had cost Penn State several games. As a result, the Big Ten introduced replay in the 2004 season.
The same thing can happen again, if Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel make it a priority. We can improve the replay process and get the officiating subjectivity out of important parts of the game. Here are some areas that are relatively easy to improve. Perhaps you all have others?
1. Pass interference. In the CFL, coaches are allowed to challenge interference calls and non-calls. The Big Ten could adopt this rule, and also make any pass attempt on third or fourth down, or over 20 yards, reviewable if the replay booth wants to review the call or non-call. The replay booth wouldn't have to review the call each time, like with a fumble, but rather if the call was clearly worth reviewing.
2. Spots. The problem with the fourth down call was that the replay was at a bad angle, and therefore didn't produce what officials would consider indisputable video evidence (though it is geometrically obvious that he was short). There has to be a way to get better spots in situations where the linesmen can't see what's happening. Perhaps cameras can be put on poles at the first down marker and at ground level to look over and under the play on each side of the field—or perhaps from cameras with telephoto lenses higher up in the stadium. You could have a camera on one of those pulley systems directly above the ball's yardage line at all times, kind of like the goal line cameras in the NHL.
3a. Higher quality refs (pay them). As we've discussed on the board in the past, the B1G refs are part-time and don't appear to conform to a rigorous quality standard. The conference could easily afford to have full-time refs who are high end. NFL referees made $173,000 on average in 2015; the Big Ten could easily serve as a farm team for near-NFL quality referees by paying them.
If a full-fledged B1G officiating crew cost $400k a year, times 7 conference games a week times 9 conference games a year = $25.6 million annually. The B1G's latest television contract pays the conference $440 million a year, and that doesn't include bowl game revenues and other income sources.
If the conference feels that's too much to spend, the conference could instead have two full-time officiating crews that rotate through the conference's most important games each week. That would cost $8.4 million a year ($400k x 10 regular season weeks x 2 games/week + championship game).
3b. Higher quality refs (grade them). Furthermore, the conference could have a weekly, public, grading of the officiating teams in each game, giving awards to the officiating crew that did the best, and caling out the ones that made mistakes. It would be after the fact game-wise, but it would give fans confidence that the B1G takes officiating seriously.
3c. Higher quality refs (eliminate conflicts of interest). As noted in this thread by Magnus, the official who called the personal foul on Harbaugh was in Ohio's officiating hall of fame. It appears that the B1G used to have a rule that refs from Ohio and Michigan couldn't ref The Game (h/t NYCBlue). While I'm sure that there are officials who can call the game fairly even if they are from the same state as one of the teams, there have been too many instances of poor officiating associated with this problem.
Another way to address this solution, suggested by researchers at Miami University (NNTM) and Florida State, is to nationalize FBS officiating. This is apparently done in most other NCAA sports. The researchers found that there is significant bias toward the home team in college football officiating, among other things, and suggested that officiating be run by the NCAA nationally rather than by conferences. Such a change would limit the likelihood of a local official or conference-associated official biasing the outcome of a game.
4. Replay booths at a neutral site. Instead of the booths being at the site of the game, have them in Chicago. This is what the NHL does with all replays being reviewed in Toronto. This removes the pressure on replay officials to play to the home crowd.
The Big Ten has an opportunity to be a leader in improving the integrity of competition in its flagship sport. It should take advantage of it. Warde Manuel, the ball's in your court.
Another game, another series of questionable calls, another torrent of frustration on the MgoBoard.
The B1G is the best conference in basketball this year, but one thing appears to be the same this year as every year: B1G officials let a lot of physical play go, and the games are tough as a result.
In past seasons the question has been asked, "Does this hurt Big Ten teams in the tournament?" The logic being that the NCAA tournament is not called the same way the B1G regular season is. I don't think the contrast in officiating has changed much, but there is one thing that has:
I wonder if Michigan, as it is built this year, is better-suited to winning in the NCAA tournament than in its own conference. As we've progressed into the meat of the conference season, Michigan continues to be good at shooting 3s and moving the ball in transition, but as B1G teams bog games down into half-court grindfests and officials allow muggings underneath the basket, Michigan's penetration offense has become significantly less substantial.
In the tournament, Michigan's ability to stay out of foul trouble will be a big plus, and defenders won't get away with handchecking Burke and mauling our frontcourt. All of the adjustments other B1G teams have to make are ones that come naturally to this club. Won't this play to Michigan's strengths when the games really matter?
When last we met: These teams were #12 and #13. Then half a B1G schedule happened. Now you can pretty much add 10 to those rankings. Indiana beat Michigan by a bucket thanks to 25 points from Christian Whatford and some ridiculous Assembly Hall officiating.
Now the tables have turned, and Michigan enters the game as 3pt favorites. The B1G has shaken out as a battle for second, a lot like we thought it would. And with MSU and Illinois doing their best to set basketball back half a century http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=320310356 Michigan is shaking out as the favorite for that second spot. (You can make an argument for Wiscy here too...but I've seen them in person, and to say I came away unimpressed would be an understatement). But to have a shot to even the score against Ohio, or even to tread water near the top of the B1G standings, Michigan is going to have to win at home.
Michigan should have the advantage in scoring and rebounding, but the hoosiers are projected to protect the ball a little better. http://accuscore.com/game-forecast-previews/college-basketball/indiana-michigan/2-1-2012/gameid,4142/ Jon Horford will not play on Wednesday. Beilein stated that he has been cleared to practice in half court drills, but that Horford has attempted to run full court and "That didn't go well". Whether this is more of an injury issue or a conditioning issue remains to be seen.
Predictions: I like Michigan in a squeaker. Indiana can be a terror when their shots are falling, but I like our defense to irritate them enough at home to put them off their game. I'm looking for a game in the 60's with double doubles from Morgan and Novak. Lets go blue!