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Gene Steratore to cover SEC football with CBS Sports

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Former NFL referee Gene Steratore will have more TV time this fall.

CBS Sports announced today that Steratore will be available to talk college football officiating during the network’s SEC on CBS broadcasts.

Steratore was a NFL field judge and referee for 15 years. He retired after working Super Bowl LII to go to work for CBS Sports. Steratore is also a former college basketball official. Last year he worked as an officiating analyst for the networks NFL games plus college basketball broadcasts.

This year, he will also be available to talk SEC officiating on CBS. Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports said in the news release that Steratore had an impressive first season. “His knowledge and expertise of the rules, combined with his ability to quickly interpret and explain calls in a concise manner, will allow him to adjust to the nuances and differences of the college game and provide our viewers with a better understanding of the rules,” he commented.

Steratore isn’t the only former referee to be scrutinizing SEC officiating this year. Matt Austin will be the officiating analyst for SEC football games on ESPN and the SEC Network. This is being done at the behest of the conference, as  Sports Illustrated reported in June that SEC brass was looking to close the feedback loop on controversial calls.

“We’ve got to do something differently,” says Herb Vincent, an associate commissioner helping spearhead this movement. “We can’t keep doing what we’ve always done.” This goes beyond releasing more statements in response to controversial calls. Vincent and the league office are in discussions with networks about the possibility of having refs in the booth to provide real-time analysis and explanations on fouls, as NFL broadcasts use. This could come “sooner rather than later,” Vincent says.

The SEC also created a Twitter account and a web page to specifically address officiating matters, presumably for all sports, but so far is exclusively focused on football.

As the rules of football get more complicated, and fans demand more information, TV networks — and now the conferences — are making sure they have the right people in place to educate the public.

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Mark Schultz
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?"

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