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More Pac-12 officiating controversy: 3 retired officials blast officiating leadership

Former Pac-12 officials write scathing letter to conference officials, calling for changes to officiating.



Three recently retired Pac-12 Conference officials, who have on field and instant replay experience, made public a letter excoriating the Pac-12 overall and their officiating leadership.

Officials Fred Gallagher, Mack Gilchrist, and Chuck Czubin wrote the letter to commissioner Larry Scott, and director of officiating David Coleman. The three officials retired from the Pac-12 in either 2017 or 2018. It is not common for dirty laundry of officiating to be aired; it is extraordinary that there are signatories to it.

They wrote the letter Feb. 25, did not receive an answer from the conference, despite several follow-ups. So they sent the letter to reporter Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.

The letter, at the bottom of this post, held nothing back.

The letter accuses the Pac-12 of:

  • Poor conference officiating perception leading to Pac-12 officials getting skipped over for the College Football Playoff.
  • Random changes to officiating procedures that create confusion and low morale.
  • Overbearing interference from Pac-12 executives that drove a prior officiating supervisor away.
  • An overbearing influence by Woodie Dixon, Pac-12 general counsel and senior vice president for business affairs, into officiating matters (Dixon has no officiating experience).
  • Poor mentoring and position coaching.
  • Position supervisors who give profane and demeaning feedback to officials, stunting development.
  • Assigning a low-rated umpire to the Pac-12 Championship Game because he “looked better” than the top-three-ranked umpires.
  • Hiring low-quality officials.

The controversy over the Pac-12 officiating blew up this past season, as media reported that Dixon stepped in to countermand an instant replay decision.

These retired officials are passionate about their craft. The Pac-12 cannot chalk this up to disgruntled, bitter former employees. The letter lays out chapter and verse the problems facing Pac-12 football officiating. In the letter, they mention Sibson Consulting, a firm hired by the Pac-12 to examine the officiating operations for potential improvements. The trio had hoped the letter would be received in good faith and shared with the consultants and “not swept under the rug.”

I’m sure Gallagher, Gilchrist and Czubin hope making this letter public will light a fire under Commissioner Scott and Director Coleman to make improvements.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"