The Pac-12 announced today it will join the Mountain West Conference and other Division I West Coast leagues in an officiating “alliance” to be headed by Mountain West coordinator Bobby Dibler.
The alliance not only will aim to provide more consistency throughout the West but also better coordinate officials' schedules geographically since many of them work different conferences anyway.
And, in the Pac-12’s case, the move also represents a big shift away from the singular structure formerly run by Ed Rush, who resigned in the wake of allegations he improperly tried to prod officials into more closely monitoring Arizona coach Sean Miller.
“We really took a fresh look at it once Ed resigned,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said on a conference call today. “We were heading, in our perspective, in a good direction before Las Vegas (the Pac-12 Tournament). When that happened, we started to look at other aspects in terms of common leadership.”
Scott and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson declined to specify details on how the pool of officials will be structure nor what the pay scales will be. Thompson did say that the pay would probably not be the same, so it's possible the highest achieving officials may be rewarded with more assignments for better-paying Pac-12 games.
Thompson said all of them will receive common training and be graded in the same manner. The West Coast Conference, Big West and WAC officials will be trained similarly but Dibler will directly oversee only the Pac-12 and MWC officials.
“One of the differences is we have not used evaluators per se and that’s something we’re looking forward to,” Thompson said. “Accountability is very important going forward with the 23 athletic directors we will be working with in the Pac-12 and Mountain West.”
Thompson said the Dibler will try to assign officials to games that are in similar geographic areas on consecutive nights – for example, maybe working games on back-to-back nights at Utah State (formerly WAC, now MWC) and Utah (Pac-12) instead of having an official work a more distant game and then flying to Utah to work a Utes game the next day.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to think about wear and tear so the officials can be more fresh,” Scott said.