It’s time for officials, or at least one official, to speak to the media after every college football game.
Let’s start with this: I am no referee basher. I firmly believe that 98 percent of these guys bust their behinds to do it right and that they get it right more than 90 percent of the time (or so). That being said, there is no reason the head official shouldn’t take questions from reporters after each game.
In the last week, we’ve seen botched, or possibly botched, calls turn around or decide games in Arizona and, last night, in North Carolina. The coaches whose salaries depend on the outcome of the games and the players who go though an 11-month-a-year preparation to play 12-13 games deserve to understand what happened, in detail, on those calls.
The image of officials hustling off a field immediately after a game, while a legitimate safety issue I understand, is a bad look. There’s no reason they can’t stop for five minutes once they are under the stands and talk to reporters. For the sake of time, we could make it a pool reporter (one reporter who asks questions and feeds the answers back to all the media in the press box). If even that is too long a bridge to cross, how about a Monday teleconference with the head of officials in each league?
We expect 18- to 22-year-old kids to talk win or lose. I’ve seen players who dropped winning touchdowns appear before a media throng moments after a game and face the music. It’s time for the adults to do the same thing.
Around the SEC, the biggest news right now is the Associated Press report that two Texas regents reached out to Nick Saban’s agent this summer to inquire about his interest in the Longhorns’ job. Saban shot down the talk on his Thursday night radio show.
“Quite frankly, I'm just too damn old to start over somewhere else,” he said. “Every year it's something. Last year, it was the Cleveland Browns," Saban said. "The year before that it was somebody else, the NFL. Terry and I are very happy here in Tuscaloosa. We're really love the University of Alabama. We really feel like a part of the community here and we have a lot of good friends here.”
In what is actually more important news than the Saban stuff, SEC commissioner Mike Slive still is upset about the NCAA’s lack of action on rules regarding agents and their contact with athletes. And he should be. The current system is unworkable from every angle and only helps unscrupulous agents get illicit benefits into the hands of athletes.
“What we had hoped for was for a total rethink of the rules and regulations as they relate to agents,” Slive said. “A task force was formed and began to do some work and then for reasons I'm not clear on, the conversations ended.”