Archived Story

Scott Novak: Welcome to the Big Ten

Published 9:00am Friday, September 25, 2009

Notre Dame fans are finding out what Big Ten Conference football fans have known for years.

The officiating in that league is suspect at best.

After having Big Ten officials for the Michigan and Michigan State games, Fighting Irish fans, coaches and players are getting a bit frustrated.

Well guess what? That’s nothing new to the fans who follow the Wolverines and Spartans.

Officiating in the Big Ten has had a reputation for being bad for many years. That’s nothing new.

What is new is that those officials drag out games with constant reviews of obvious plays.
It’s almost like they don’t trust their own judgment.

I am a fan of instant replay because I think it is important to get the call right.

But I am not in favor of using it time after time to double check your call.

Make a call, good or bad. Stand by it and if needed, use replay on a call you are not sure about.

I have watched several of those “questionable” calls that Notre Dame has been talking about for two weeks now.

A couple of them I cannot figure out why it was called the way it was.

Others were called correctly and despite the fact that Notre Dame fans don’t like them, they were the correct call.

Not all of the officials in the Big Ten are bad. I am not saying that.

But the league has developed a bad reputation around the country for their officiating.
Every league has its share of good and bad officials. It doesn’t matter which level we are talking about.

The key is to work hard to get the best officials you can get and to train them to be the best they can be.

Coaches, players and fans are never going to agree on questionable calls in the first place.
But while fans and players may continue to complain well after the game has ended, coaches need to set a good example and move on.

It’s not like they are going to overturn a call a couple of days after the game is completed and reverse who won the contest based on that one or two bad calls.

So Irish fans, players and coaches, it’s time to move on and concentrate on playing Purdue Saturday night.

Fortunately for Irish fans, they won’t have to put up with Big Ten officials for the third straight week. As the visiting team, Notre Dame is allowed to pick and they have selected Big East officials.

Scott Novak is sports editor of Leader Publications. He can be reached at or by phone at 687-7702. Follow me on my daily blog:

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