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Pac-12: Conference looks to improve image, quality of officiating

UCLA Coach Jim Mora encourages defensive back Anthony Jefferson to keep his cool after a teammate was called for a penalty early in the game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 11, 2014.

UCLA Coach Jim Mora encourages defensive back Anthony Jefferson to keep his cool after a teammate was called for a penalty early in the game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 11, 2014.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

David Coleman, the Pac-12’s new vice president of officiating, said that the conference was going to emphasize consistency, accountability, communication and transparency for its referees.

Well, the communication and transparency part got off to a rocky start during Pac-12 media days at Warner Bros. Studios on Friday.

Coleman made a presentation to media members and, when finished, he said, “I’ll be glad to take questions.” Hands went up, but a Pac-12 official stepped in and said, “We’re bumping up against the time” for the next speaker.

The Pac-12 Network’s presentation was next.

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The perception is the Pac-12 has a problem with consistency from its game officials, and there are numbers to back that up. Nine conference teams ranked among the 27 most penalized teams in the nation last season.

Conference officials and coaches are quick to point out that the Pac-12 teams run more plays than others teams nationally, which led to more penalites. Yet, there was a clear need improve, reflected in Coleman being hired to oversee officials.

The Pac-12 -- and other conferences -- will add an on-field official, with eight for each game. There will a supervisor for each game official position -- linesman, back judge, etc. Coleman said he would emphasize training, “knowing the rules” and “being physically fit.” He will also put together an evaluation video after each weekend.

“Without calling anyone out or anything like that, we’re going to make sure everyone understands how we did the previous week,” Coleman said. “What were the interesting plays? What happened that we did well? What happened that we could do better?”

Coleman also directed the media, “if we do well, pat us on the back. If we don’t, we’ll stand up and take ownership of any mistakes that we make.”

Mistake No. 1? Let Coleman answer questions.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes


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