Maybe the stupidest officiating call of the postseason was the decision to eject Kentucky running back Benny Snell during the Music City Bowl. Given the nature of the world we live in, that’s led to the next level of stupidity, threats made against the Pac-12 official who threw out Snell.
Almost as stupid, though, is the finger pointing and shrugging off going on in the wake of all this by the Pac-12 and the SEC.
The harassing calls began to die down until last week, sources said, when a letter from Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart to the Pac-12’s vice president of officials, David Coleman, critical of Coyte and his crew was made public by the Lexington Herald-Leader, which reported it obtained the letter through an open records request.
When contacted by ESPN for comment regarding Barnhart’s letter, the Pac-12 made it clear it felt his decision to reach out directly to Coleman was a break from protocol.
“We’re happy to discuss the matter with the SEC,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “We’re particularly sensitive about this issue because our officials have received threats and we are concerned about their safety.”
In separate statements to ESPN, Kentucky and the SEC both expressed a similar belief that there is not an outlined protocol for how to elevate these concerns.
“We are not aware of any protocols for this kind of situation,” the Kentucky athletic department said in its statement. “We made contact with the Southeastern Conference office and made them aware of our concerns. We expressed those concerns to the SEC and to the Pac-12 office.”
Added the SEC: “The University of Kentucky expressed its concerns about specific instances related to officiating in the Music City Bowl to both the SEC and the Pac-12 offices. There has been no universal protocol related to communicating concerns about post-season bowl games. The SEC has no further comment on this matter.”
“There has been no universal protocol related to communicating concerns about post-season bowl games.” Well, whose fault is that, genius?
There is an obvious solution to an obvious problem — nationalize officiating, standardize training and inject some real accountability into job performance. This isn’t rocket science. It just takes some effort and resources coupled with a sincere commitment to improve the work on the field. Um… well, for college football, maybe that is rocket science.