Ref Not, Lest Ye Be Reffed

By Johnny Ginter on July 17, 2013 at 2:00p

Most jobs can be hard if you look at the ridiculous minutiae that people tend to build up around them.

Not every job, and not all the time. At present, my job as a high school teacher entails sitting around in my underwear and staring into space for 10 hours a day. I got a paycheck yesterday and for like a half second I felt a twinge of guilt, but that quickly went away as it was replaced with a chicken salad sandwich and a Mythbusters marathon.

But my point is that in a month or so, laziness will be replaced with never ending insanity coupled with hilariously unrealistic and itemized demands from the state of Ohio. I'll have 504 reports to analyze, IEPs to look over, SLOs to write coupled with general lesson planning and I guess I might teach/yell at some kids too if I have time.

From the outside when you look at a job like, say, a college football referee, it can seem like a pretty sweet gig that any of us could do. We watch football on TV from couches hundreds of miles away and can make the right call, so it stands to reason that a regular dude right there on the field could do even better.

Tom Dienhart, the BTN reporter who broke the news about the marching orders Big Ten officials got from up top re: ejecting players for helmet to helmet hits, decided he'd share with his readers the exam given to referees at a recent clinic. And since I write about college football on the internet, there is literally no test conceived by man or beast that I cannot completely dominate. So I took it, and here are a few of my answers.

First of all, acronyms and work jargon are the lifeblood of any professional job and are incredibly valuable in a pinch. "Errrrr we got a H-98 cold doggie nappin on a peanut till 616, do you copy" sounds a lot better than "There's a dead hooker dressed like Dolly Parton in my truck cab and I locked my keys inside." Second, I got this. I got this! Easy.

Boom. Our Lord and savior Lucid Keith Jackson from the mid 90s couldn't have called it better himself. NEXT.

Honestly I was having really having a hard time dealing with the repeated usage of the word "muff" here.

Close enough.

EVERYTHING SHOULD BE REVIEWABLE, I don't... Look, it just makes sense, alright? Also, how do you know that A14 is "desperate?" Just because he comes from a difficult background doesn't give you the right to judge his character, man. He's a good kid who tries is best, and you're out there looking down on him from your ivory tower built on a foundation of the sweat and tears of actual talented people and I just can't take it anymore. Make that funny "juggling while going out of bounds" hand signal and sit down, you jerk.

Nice little B1G easter egg there, I see what you did there, Mr. Big Ten Director of Officials Bill Carollo.

I looked at this question for about five minutes and I thought I might have an answer. Then I tried to calculate how many times the jowly bearded maw of Dan Fouts could scream BAD CALL BAD CALL in that time frame, and I just froze up and got scared. Then I turned my computer off for a few minutes.

Yeah, I guess? Okay. Okay.



You can't hit people from the behind, this is like the one rule of Playground Law and Drunk Guy Protocol that stays consistent throughout life (other than "vomit is only funny until the person passes out from it").

Well on the plus side the Big Ten just gave me carte blanche to be a dick to people. After a lengthy discussion, of course.

I'm basically an idiot, so it's probably not surprising that strange combinations of letters and numbers that don't involve either dinosaurs or the Civil War confused me. But what if I wasn't? What if I was a reasonably intelligent and informed dude who can still be somewhat confused by a labyrinthine rulebook with a ton of obscure rules?

Ramzy talked about this yesterday and I don't want to belabor the point, but football, like life and deciding which types of food are okay to eat after they've fallen on the floor, is a complex and dangerous game. There are enough rules and procedures to choke a goat, which coupled with the fact that those same rules and procedures are constantly changing through edicts from a governing body that needs players upright and alive (so that they can continue to gnaw on their profitable flesh) makes for a pretty confusing set of standards.

Because here's the thing: either refs are eagle-eyed badasses with an infallibility that rivals the Pope, or they are imperfect humans who make mistakes on a regular basis. The former would be cool. But if the truth is the latter then maybe we shouldn't be giving them the leeway to eject players and operate on a conference-wide mandate that they're encouraged to live up to.

Maybe the rulebook is ambiguous and difficult enough to interpret as it is, even for the Nietzschean supermen that are the Big Ten's referees.

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