Review finds no major fix needed for Pac-12 refs

LOS ANGELES -- A four-month external review of the Pac-12's officiating program determined it is "predominantly consistent with best practices in the industry" and does not need a major overhaul.

The report, compiled by Sibson Consulting, was commissioned in the wake of a controversial season marred by an incident when Woodie Dixon, the Pac-12's general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs, influenced an instant replay review during USC's win against Washington State.

"It is essential that stakeholders can trust that an officiating program is operating without bias or influence," the report said. "The WSU vs. USC incident severely damaged that trust among the stakeholders and the public."

Among the recommendations included in the report is the adoption of a new replay manual that will codify the process, which was designed to eliminate the potential for outside influence.

"The independent review was comprehensive in scope, and identified many positive foundational aspects of our program and as well as areas where we can improve," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "We are committed to ensuring that our football officiating program continues to improve and is best-in-class, and our implementation of these recommendations will allow us to do so."

The report praised many aspects of the Pac-12's' officiating program, but keyed in on a few areas where improvements are needed, including better training for the supervisors responsible for grading the on-field officials.

"Supervisors generally lack both recent on-field experience and recent NFL experience," according to the report, which added, "Supervisors do not train consistently and effectively."

It concluded there is too much of an emphasis placed on the fitness of the officials who "do not have adequate personnel resources with whom to consult at the Pac-12 regarding rules and mechanics."

As part of the process, Sibson consulted with each Pac-12 head coach and a subcommittee of athletic directors chaired by Arizona State's Ray Anderson that also included Oregon's Rob Mullens, Oregon State's Scott Barnes and Colorado's Rick George.