Though it took jestful bribery, twenty-five thousand dollars, Ice Miller, and a dash of broken trust, the Pac-12 has announced their effort to improve what has long been a perceived poor officiating core. Teaming up with the Mountain West and handing the reigns over to Bobby Dibler, Pac-12 and MWC referees will now be involved in an officiating program designed to be the best.
Now officiating is an odd beast. The stripes are meant to be neither seen nor heard and since this past season ended, all we've seen or heard of anything has been the stripes. This should not be the case. You're familiar with the saga and all that has gotten us to this collaboration; but this solution is unique in that the expectation is that we never hear of it again. Like when you and your middle school girlfriend: it was announced, and then never spoke of again.
Nevertheless, the facts of the program include:
- A training program
- An evaluation program
- A development program
- A new Deputy Coordinator
- A new Technology Coordinator (Hi, Buffs)
- A preseason clinic to review mechanics, game situations, rules knowledge,
how to recognize a joke vs. an actual bribe, and "other key factors to ensure [refs] are among the best trained in the county"
- Game Graders
What's more, the expectation is that the alliance will attract the top officials, reduce travel, maximize schedules amongst other niceties that make this thing sound ground breaking. Of course, ground breaking has been the motto of Larry Scott's tenure as commish. So it comes as no surprise that this sort of collaboration is, indeed, a first of its kind.
Will this Scott innovation work? Thus far the twelve team thing seems has and, simply put, two are better than one.
As for this Dibler guy, he's got the resume. Rush had the flair and name recognition - arguably a ruinous combination for an official - and seemed to fit into Scott's wireframe for success: bigger is better. Maybe that's where he went wrong.
With Dibler, we have a guy who's supported officiating for a long time. He worked the court for 20 years (including 11 NCAAs, three Final Fours, and the other tournament) and has been the MWC officiating coordinator for the past 14 years. Google his name and you find a mere 64,800 results and no controversy. Conversely, Mark Cuban wouldn't hire Ed Rush to run a DQ.
In the release, Scott throws around words like "elite," "best," "rigorous," and "greatest." We expect to hear these words with regards to any announcements from a conference commissioner.
In this case, let those ring true. And then may we never hear of it again.