Opinion: College football officiating must improve

By: Adam Purvis ~Staff Writer~

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Photo courtesy of newsobserver.com | Yeah, his knee was clearly down.

It’s time for some football. This season of college football has been full of surprising upsets and wins including wins from Navy, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Nebraska, causing plenty of people to speculate whether or not this has anything to do with the officiating throughout these games.

This season has been plagued by bad measurements and tough calls to make. This past weekend Michigan State was defeated by Nebraska by one point after a touchdown catch made by a receiver who had run out of bounds. The officials had to replay this over and over again to determine whether he had been shoved out of bounds and ultimately decided that he had been shoved, an act that probably made Ohio State fans happy.

Two weeks ago, the ACC suspended the officiating team during the Miami-Duke game for two conference games. It was the last play of the game for Miami with a score of 24-27. After a squib kick down the middle, the Hurricanes proceeded to do eight laterals, at one point getting back to their 10- yard line, and turning it around for the touchdown, giving Miami the victory at 30-27.

After later review, the ACC determined that four mistakes were made by the officials such as a down knee and an illegal block. Last month, the Big 12 issued an apology for a mismeasured first down during Oklahoma’s win over Kansas State. Funny enough, they incorrectly measured and, misspelled “accurracy” in their official statement.

Just this weekend, a Pac-12 line judge was suspended for a game because he had ruled an inadvertent whistle on what looked like a drive-ending fourth down stop. This allowed Washington State to retry on fourth down, leading to an undeserved touchdown and a 38-24 defeat of Arizona State.

Now, I am not trying to say that all officials are bad at their job. I have no doubt that with all the cheering and the giants who are running around that it is pretty easy to make a mistake. While the missed calls and bizarre endings have made for interesting football, it is something that must end. Officials need to be held accountable for their mistakes and conferences must willing to hand out real punishments to the worst offenders.