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Walt Anderson resigns as head of Big 12 officiating

Walt Anderson has resigned from the Big 12 conference as supervisor of officials



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NFL referee Walt Anderson has resigned from the Big 12 conference as supervisor of officials. Covering the conference’s spring meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Dallas Morning News, Chuck Carlton reported that commissioner Bob Bowlsby made the announcement Wednesday.

Football Zebras contacted Anderson, but he declined to comment.

Anderson was one of 21 NFL officials that was selected in a pilot program to work full-time for the league. The term was a bit of a misnomer, as it allowed full-time officials to have other employment, but the NFL expected those officials to give the league a primary position with the increased responsibilities. In Anderson’s case, the Big 12 would be secondary to the NFL according to the terms of his full-time contract.

“Walt is very good at his job,” Bowlsby said, according to Max Olson of The Athletic. “It’s a loss for us, but understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. Walt did a wonderful job with development and identification of officials.”

Anderson has been the supervisor since 2006. A replacement will be named this summer, likely at the Big 12 media events in July.

As Carlton reports, the Big 12 conference also wants its officiating supervisor to be in the replay command center on game days. This would preclude another NFL official from taking the position, full time or otherwise.

The American Athletic Conference cut ties with NFL referee Terry McAulay, who was heading their officiating department. The American merged officiating operations with the ACC; a replacement coordinator, Bryan Platt, was hired by the American who will report to ACC coordinator Dennis Hennigan.

Additionally, current NFL officials were rumored to be frozen out of the national college replay director position. In April, former NFL senior vice-president of officiating and current Fox Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino was said to be tapped for the job, according to multiple sources. That still has not been confirmed, although no other names have surfaced since. The position, created in 2016 and run by the consortium College Football Officiating, has not required the replay director to be a live monitor of in-process replays. One source told Football Zebras that the 7-member search committee for the replay director position “did not want anybody in that position with current ties to the NFL.”

While these moves are likely not part of a larger concerted effort, it still has the net effect to push for college-centric officiating leaders over NFL officials. This is understandable from a conference management perspective, and also may make sense with other sports. But the once-weekly cycle of football gives an opportunity to multitask, and actually gives the coordinator additional game film study. While there are still many officials doing consulting work for various conferences, there are no more current NFL officials heading the major college conferences, with former referees Bill Carollo and Gerry Austin heading the Big Ten and Conference USA, respectively.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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