SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey addressed the media on Friday afternoon before the annual SEC Championship game. One of the questions had to deal with officiating concerns.
The initial question was about how as the SEC Commissioner, Sankey could make officiating more transparent. Sankey addressed the issues and mentioned that there are aspects of making officiating more transparent. He also talked about the various qualifications the referees need to have.
“I think there are aspects of that we could be more transparent, so if it’s about qualifications and backgrounds of officials, I think a conversation after the season with Herb and Steve on that topic,” Sankey stated. “We’re not going to go through everyone’s resumes, but can share with you the experience there, the intentional effort to identify and recruit officials, what happens in the spring with respected officials to bring them into training programs, and how those folks may even be brought in or monitored, our working relationship with The Sunbelt Conference, which provides developmental opportunities for both.”
Sankey continued the discussion and how ratings come into play with it. He even mentions a piece in Referee magazine about the whole situation.
“I think we’ve been transparent in Referee magazine, which you probably don’t read with great frequency. We’ve got a poster-sized description of on the front of our officiating program over a year’s time and on the back what happens day to day through game week. That’s one,” Sankey commented.
Then Sankey commented that he’s not ready to talk about how the referees’ rate. He did reference the NBA and NFL on how they continue to improve their officiating concerns though.
“I’m not ready to go into we’re going to publish ratings. I do think that in this environment we have to communicate differently, and how that manifests itself, I don’t know,” Sankey said. “I think I have answeres, you can see in the NBA and the NFL, their officiating communication realtime so people can better understand how decisions are made. That has meaning, but we actually have communications meetings next week looking ahead to next season to see how we might be more transparent.”
A question about whether or not crews can get suspended came up next. Sankey quickly stated he hasn’t engaged in that.
“I think we hold officials accountable,” Sankey stated. “We share that information internally. It doesn’t have to happen very frequently. In fact, I think the times it has occurred, I think people have found out. Could there be a time where there’s simply a public announcement of the removal of an assignment? Certainly, there could be. I think we have to be careful about that because you can go back and look at those announcements and see that there’s a spillover–one of those was a 2008 public announcement. Good officiating crew, good referee, and we’ll hear noise about that. So there are some unhealthy aspects of just issuing those types of suspensions. So I would not expect it would great frequency.”
Despite wanting answers from Sankey, it seems like officiating concerns will stay up in the air until commissioners find a way to be transparent.