Associate commissioner Herb Vincent is spearheading an effort exclusively focused on football.
“Conference officials also plan to create a Twitter account, similar to the NBA and NFL, to explain rules to fans in real time.”
The Southeastern Conference wants ESPN and CBS to give its football games the same treatment the NFL gets from the two networks. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reports that the conference wants its broadcast partners to use rules officials during SEC football broadcasts.
The proposal is being spearheaded by associate commissioner Herb Vincent. Dellenger writes that it would be part of a larger plan to be more transparent with fans about why penalties were called. “We’ve got to do something differently,” Dellenger quotes Vincent as saying. “We can’t keep doing what we’ve always done.”
Vincent hopes the networks add rules officials “sooner rather than later.” The conference and its referees came under fire last year when a questionable targeting call in the 4th quarter of LSU’s win over Mississippi State resulted in the Tigers’ star linebacker Devin White having to miss the first half of the team’s game against top ranked Alabama.
It was a controversy that saw commentary from the media, fans, and celebrities. Even Louisiana’s governor weighed in on Twitter.
Conference officials also plan to create a Twitter account, similar to the NBA and NFL, to explain rules to fans in real time. SEC coordinator of football officials, Steve Shaw, told Dellenger that his staff is ready for that challenge, saying “We actually build more responses than we actually release.”
Rightsholders are no strangers to taking direction from the leagues they work with, but ultimately it would be up to ESPN and CBS respectively if they want to add a rules analyst to SEC football coverage. LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward did not mince words when telling Dellenger that an impartial rules official was necessary for the conference’s broadcasts. “Some of our commentators blow it the worst.”