Pac-12 hires independent firm to review officiating

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The much-maligned Pac-12 football officials are getting their own officials.

The conference has hired Sibson Consulting, a New York-based firm with national clients to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the league’s officiating processes, taking a magnifying glass for everything from the league’s recruitment practices to its replay process.

Arizona State AD Ray Anderson led the process, which makes sense given he once hired them to review the NFL’s officiating program in his duties as the league’s executive vice president for football operations. Sibson has also worked with the NBA in the past.

“This is something the ADs want done,’’ Anderson told the San Jose Mercury-News, which broke the story. “I applaud (commissioner Larry Scott) and the conference office for accepting, ‘You guys are right. We’ve got to do it. Now, let’s go.’’’

Pac-12 officials have long been viewed as a distant fifth among the Power 5 officiating rosters. (Which league has the best refs? Trick question. No conference has good refs, but everyone can tell you the Pac-12’s are the worst.)

The move is obviously inspired by the Washington State-USC debacle, where conference general and senior VP for business affairs Woodie Dixon (incorrectly) overruled the Pac-12’s actual officials on a targeting call that helped the Trojans hold off the Cougars in late September. While no one knew it at the time, Washington State’s loss cost the Pac-12 a lucrative second New Year’s Six bid.

The disconcerting news here is this isn’t the first time the Pac-12 has hired outside help to fix its zebras. The league in 2011 hired contracted Mike Pereira to lead a review of its officials, and eight years later the conference still needs major help.