Former VP of NFL officiating: SEC referees losing integrity, credibility
UPDATED: The Southeastern Conference responded to Mike Pereira’s claims.
Mike Pereira twice has noticed something with SEC officiating that has him “really pissed.”
Pereira is a familiar name to football fans of all walks. The former NFL Vice President of Officiating is currently an officiating analyst for FOX Sports, giving his input on various decisions throughout both college and NFL broadcasts. Pereira has apparently been paying close attention to the SEC this season, and he had some harsh words for the conference’s officials.
In his column on Sunday, Pereira called out SEC officials for some shady behavior in recent weeks, saying that the conference is losing its integrity and credibility. He professes his admiration for the league, but blasts the officiating.
In Mississippi State’s win over Auburn two weeks ago, Pereira noticed officials communicating with someone off the field through their headsets as they debated whether or not to pick up a flag for intentional grounding, which he called a farce.
In Alabama’s win at Tennessee on Saturday, Pereira called “bull” again. In the first quarter, Tennessee punted the ball away, and Alabama fielded it with a fair catch. A personal foul was called on the play, after which the officials huddled up. Pereira said it was clear the referees were clearly communicating with someone off the field again, this time about how to enforce the penalty. Pereira said 2:36 of real time elapsed between the end of the play and their official call.
Pereira says in his column that, two weeks ago, he reached out to national officiating coordinator Rogers Redding, the former SEC officials coordinator, about who was on the communications system. Pereira was told the headsets only allow officials to communicate with each other on the field, which the former NFL official does not buy.
“But now it appears the SEC has someone that nobody else has — a mystery man. I’m not sure where he is, but he’s providing information to the officials on the field. If the SEC denies it, they’re not telling the truth,” Pereira said.
As it stands now, conferences have either seven or eight officials on the field. The SEC uses seven referees, with one alternate that assists with line of scrimmage calls, according to Pereira. Based on what he has seen, Pereira accuses the SEC of playing by its own set of rules.
“It was unacceptable in that Auburn-Mississippi State game — and it was unacceptable in the Alabama-Tennessee game. If (SEC commisioner Mike) Slive condones this and Redding fails to investigate and stop it, then the SEC and the NCAA have a big problem in officiating,” Pereira said. “In my eyes, their officiating staff is losing their credibility.”