Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Opinion: The time is now for the end of Pac-12 officiating incompetence

The Pac-12 needs to change officiating principles to avoid further embarrassment

ASU vs. Utah

ASU sophomore safety Aashari Crosswell (16) disagrees with the referees during a game against Utah on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

The Conference of Champions is a title and standard that has been mentioned in association with the Pac-12 for years. 

The conference’s officiating crew must be held to that standard as well — it has not.

When the conference had the spotlight, in non-conference games at Michigan State and Ole Miss, the Pac-12 officials have blown impactful calls. Both times, the conference issued a statement. Only once admitting any wrongdoing. 

"The game officials will be held accountable for the error through the conference’s game evaluation and disciplinary process," Pac-12 Vice President of Officiating & Coordinator of Football Officials David Coleman said at a conference following the Michigan State vs. ASU game. 

Unfortunately, that disciplinary process has not made an impact this season. 

"You know, it happens," ASU head coach Herm Edwards said at a press conference following the Michigan State victory. "I can say some other things, but I won't. Did they miss the call? OK, they missed the call. But sometimes they miss calls.”

One mistake, that happens. Two mistakes, we have a problem. On mistake three, four and five, we have a catastrophe. As we stand here, the Pac-12 is a catastrophe.

Officiating is never a scapegoat for winning and losing, it goes beyond that. Procedure calls can be viewed as brutal and inconceivable. Blown calls that have to do with safety, those are unexplainable. 

Injuries, specifically concussions, have been at the forefront for rule changes in football’s recent history. The most notable rule addition is targeting

This past Saturday, ASU safety junior Evan Fields was ejected for a hit on Utah running back Zack Moss, rightfully so. The issue in this matchup comes later in the game when ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels slid and was hit helmet-to-helmet by a Utah defender. 

This violates two rules and no flag was thrown.

On the same night, USC hosted UA in a blowout 41-14 victory for the Trojans. 

UA running back J.J. Taylor had his facemask ripped by a USC defender, causing his helmet to turn almost 180 degrees. In a still image, the umpire appears to be in the perfect position to throw a flag, none were thrown. 

These mistakes are starting to add up for the Pac-12. There are mistakes made in every game by every crew, but rarely to this significance. Yet, mistakes of this magnitude are a regular occurrence by Pac-12 crews. 

It is time the conference reviews its officiating structure entirely. As currently constructed, nothing is working. 

If no change is made, the Pac-12 conference will continuously embarrass itself in the national spotlight just as it did in Sept. during the Michigan State and Ole Miss fiascos. Pac-12 member institutions deserve better, student-athletes deserve better and fans deserve better. It is time for change. 

Reach the columnist at or follow @anc2018 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter. 

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.