Deloitte hired to review SEC football officiating

Deloitte was hired by the Southeastern Conference to conduct a review of its college football officiating. The move by the athletic conference, which encompasses 14 universities in 11 southern U.S. states, comes at a time when referees have come under increasing scrutiny, especially those officiating college and professional football games.

Talking to the Associated Press, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey called this view of the refs, both by the public and media, intense and often opinionated. He also said the SEC began discussing ways to review the work of the referees and how to better communicate its quality to the public last September. He added that the SEC was not responding to any particular problem.

"Our focus is we want to continue to improve," Sankey said in a statement. "I don't want us to be complacent, and I want us to make certain that we continue to be the leading college football officiating program."

The SEC is considered one of the most successful conferences in college athletics and especially football, with 43 total national football titles. An SEC team has also played in the national championship the last four consecutive years, and won twice.

The results of the review will not be released publicly but are being shared at the SEC’s spring conference league meetings in Destin, Florida, this week, according to the AP. Herb Vincent, associate commissioner for communications for the SEC, who is currently at those meetings, shared via email a list of what Deloitte was tasked with in its assessment of the SEC’s football officiating program:

  • Conduct stakeholder interviews to review officiating program strengths, enhancement opportunities and perceptions;
  • Perform statistically based data analytics from game play-by-play reports and officiating review results to identify trends and potential outliers;
  • Compare SEC officiating program procedures and standards to industry norms from collegiate and professional sport leagues;
  • Meet with members of the SEC’s officiating staff to seek their input on adaptations that may enhance officiating performance; and
  • Evaluate the SEC’s assessment and accountability standards for officials.
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