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February 11, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Pac-10 announces changes to football officiating program

And I would imagine there are few headlines I could write that would draw bigger applause from fans of every conference school.

Anyway, as the headline says, the Pac-10 made some announcements about its football officiating today, or as it put it: “Pac-10 restructures football officiating program as it prepares for the inaugural Pac-12 season.”

Here is the complete release from the conference:

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.– After a comprehensive review of the officiating program and a request by Dave Cutaia to step down as the Coordinator of Football Officiating, the Pac-10 Conference will restructure its football officiating program it was announced today. Enhancements to the officiating program will include a new organizational structure, new resources, best practices and training tools.

“Dave Cutaia has been an integral part of the Pac-10 Conference for 27 years as an official and as our Coordinator of Football Officiating,” Commissioner Larry Scott said. “His professionalism and dedication are first class and we thank him for all of his efforts and devotion to the Pac-10.”

“Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level,” Scott said. “The game and level of play is always improving, so it’s essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well.”

The adjustments to the Pac-12 football officiating program came after a season-long review of the entire program by Mike Pereira, the former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, who served as a consultant for the Pac-10 during the 2010 season. Pereira will lead the process of creating the new structure and implementing the changes, and will serve as the interim Coordinator of Football Officiating. The Pac-12 will begin an immediate search for a permanent Coordinator of Officiating.

“We are thrilled that Mike Pereira will be leading the restructuring of our football officiating program and will serve as the interim Coordinator,” Scott said. “He is among the most respected leaders in his field at the professional and collegiate level, and has extensive football officiating and program management experience.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to come back to my college roots and share my passion for West Coast college football,” said Pereira. “This is a unique time for the Pac-10 as it prepares for the inaugural Pac-12 season. I am appreciative to have the opportunity to bring an innovative and fresh perspective to Pac-12 officiating.”

The implementation of the officiating program coincides with the beginning of the new Pac-12 Conference, which features the addition of the University of Colorado and the University of Utah. The 2011 Pac-12 football season will begin September 3 when Oregon meets LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

You may know Pereira from his work with FOX’s NFL telecasts this season.

This obviously sounds like the most aggressive step the conference has taken in years to shore up its officiating, which fans almost unanimously deride. How well it works obviously won’t be known for a few years (and for most fans, it will probably still come down to whether they think their team got jobbed or not).

But this is also another sign of Scott’s willigness to shake things up in a conference that had a reputation for being satisfied with the status quo.

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