After all the tumult from the departure of Ed Rush and the mess at last year's Pac-12 basketball tournament, the conference looked to do things differently.
Friday, it announced a new "officiating alliance" with the Mountain West. The Big West and WCC are also involved.
Here is the release from the conference. Keep in mind many officials already overlapped conferences, working back-to-back nights and traveling at odd hours to make games, something that's an ongoing concern:
Walnut Creek, Calif. – The Pac-12 and the Mountain West have entered into a broad collaboration to manage their men’s basketball officiating program, the Conferences announced today. Longtime officiating coordinator Bobby Dibler will oversee the programs of both conferences and manage a top-level roster of regional and national officials.
Three other prominent western conferences, the West Coast Conference, the Big West Conference and Western Athletic Conference, will participate in the new collaboration’s officiating training programs. The WCC and Big West have previously participated in Pac-12 training and with the participation of the Mountain West and WAC, the new collaboration brings a common approach to training to more officials.
Dibler has served as a Coordinator of Officiating for the Mountain West for the last 14 years and was in the same role with the Western Athletic Conference before that (1992-1998). Prior to his duties of coordinating officials for the two conferences, he worked 11 NCAA Tournaments, three NCAA Final Fours, and several NITs during a 20-year career as an official.
The collaboration will continue the two conferences’ commitment to establish best-in-class officiating programs focusing on recruitment, training, evaluation, and accountability. In addition, this new system ensures greater consistency of officiating across all Pac-12 and MW games.
“Our objective is to provide the best officiating program for our teams and student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Under this new alliance, we will be better positioned to attract top lead officials, and to achieve the greatest consistency and accountability deserving of our excellent basketball programs. This alliance also allows us to further develop a rigorous training, evaluation and development program for the next generation of elite officials.”
“The Mountain West is very excited about this new venture with the Pac-12 Conference and the overall goal of improving men’s basketball officiating in both leagues should be readily apparent,” said Craig Thompson, Commissioner of the Mountain West. “Bobby Dibler has decades of experience and we are confident that he will aptly build one of the best staffs in the country.”
In addition to Dibler, the conferences will hire a deputy coordinator to support the evaluation and training functions of the program, a technology coordinator to manage the software and technology training of officials, and game graders to ensure proper evaluation of all officials.
Prior to the season, Dibler and staff will host a training clinic for all roster officials to review mechanics, game situations, rules knowledge and other key factors to ensure they are among the best trained in the country. The WCC, Big West, and WAC officials will join Pac-12 and MW officials for this clinic, furthering the impact of the collaboration on officiating in the western United States.
Last season, 31 of the 98 officials working NCAA tournament games were officials in the Pac-12 and MW. This new collaboration promises to offer these and the developing officials a wealth of best practices from which to learn.
"I am very humbled, but also very honored and excited to lead this effort," said Dibler. "For our officials, this is great opportunity to improve their officiating skills, maximize their schedule and reduce travel. I look forward to establishing a top preseason training program and outlining a clear communications process between all our officials, the conferences, and our coaches."
This regional approach to housing the officiating program is a new model for both Conferences, but matches the trend nationwide for using the best officials in multiple conferences throughout the year.
“Broader regional collaboration between conferences is a positive trend for the future of officiating, the game generally and, in particular, the conferences that participate in them," said John Adams, National coordinator of men’s basketball officiating.