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CBS Sports Investigates Why College Football Referees Suck

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Fans should be ashamed of themselves for booing a college football referee after a botched call — it’s like booing a Special Olympics contestant.

NCAA football refs suck ass. They suck so bad, it makes you wonder if Obama is actually doing a splendid job of finding positions for the unemployed instead of giving them free hand-outs. It’s as if the average McDonald’s cashier endures a more rigorous application process.

Where do we even begin to chronicle the steaming pile of shit that was college football officiating this season? There’s the Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State game, where the refs called a Cowboys first down when it should have been a fourth and four, leading to a Cowboys win. There’s the time Illinois turned the ball over when the refs mistook a third down for a fourth down. There’s Nebraska’s game-winning, last-second touchdown scored after the receiver waltzed out of bounds. There’s the ref who accidentally blew his whistle and didn’t replay the down like the rules state. The list goes on and on.

I can tolerate the wrong call if it’s a “was the knee down or not?”-type situation, but these poor bastards don’t know the rules. Shit, they can’t even count. Even worse, they’re recklessly prideful. They’ll fuck up tremendously, then fabricate ways to justify it (“He didn’t step out of bounds — he was FORCED out of bounds!”) instead of owning up to their mistakes.

Something needs to be done, but nobody’s quite sure what to do. In a long-read on CBS Sports, Jon Solomon examines the myriad problems with college football officiating.

He looks at how college football refs, like NFL refs, do the job only part-time. The prospect of full-time college football officials is a pipe dream that will likely never come to fruition — unlike baseball or basketball, there simply aren’t enough games in a football season. Nevertheless, they could definitely put in a little more work.

“I get these guys to come in and do replay training for a couple days a year. It’s good,” Carollo said. “I need year-round training, just like the coaches, just like the players. This is not part-time anymore. I think it’s an important job and needs to be recognized like that. It’s not organized that way right now. I think we can do a lot better to make it a real professional avocation.”

Apparently, coming in a couple times a year counts as “year-round training.”

Solomon also examines whether the officials are being paid enough.

“Even if the model stays the same, make it worth the while,” Carollo said. “They’re doing it right now for $20,000 to $30,000 (a year). If you pay a little bit more and ask a little more time from them and have required training, it would be better. They’re doing it on the back of a napkin, really.”

With football being the number one source of revenue for so many universities, you’d think the officials, who have the power to change the hand that holds a massive bonus check with one call, would be compensated a little more for their efforts.

There is also a decline in people wanting to take the job, which has led to wildly unproven and unqualified individuals being placed in crucial roles.

“…I think we can get much better people up there. I’ve got a 24-year-old guy working Division I replay who has never officiated before and he’s one of my top replay guys.”

Turns out I wasn’t being all that unfair when I dropped the McDonald’s cashier comparison earlier.

With the season coming to a close, the NCAA will have some time to work out solutions. Hopefully, we’ll at least be headed in the right direction come next fall. But while we’re in the offseason, I know the perfect film for these refs to study:

[via CBS Sports]

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Alex Buscemi

AKA Boosh. Former high school back-up wide receiver. Author of two pretty successful Reddit comments. Recent grad from the University of South Carolina.

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