Are Pac-12 refs really that bad?

Short AND long-answer is: yes. 



Only four institutions remain in the Pac-12.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

It would not be a Pac-12 football game without the refs being the center of attention. A good performance by a ref would mean that no one would know their name or talk about them once the game is over.

However, in Pac-12 they are in the headlines and end up overshadowing the play with their questionable at best calls.

WSU is consistently receiving the bad end of the stick when it comes to bad calls and most recently they played the most common beneficiary of poor ref-ball at USC.

There were several plays that allowed USC to get points, from a defensive pass interference on the goal line that went against the Cougs to a targeting call to an offensive lineman who was blocking for a scrambling quarterback, the Trojans could have sent out eight players on any play and won the game.

It was not even the first major mistake that the refs had made against the Cougs this season. In the matchup against Oregon, the refs had mistakenly taken away a down from WSU and did not review it until after the drive had ended and a punt was made.

Even if they went back and replayed the series, they still made a mistake with what down they went to, going to third down when they should have gone all the way back to second down.

WSU is the recipient of 60% of poor calls made by officials since the 2018 season, which is one of the worst rates in the entire nation, let alone the Pac-12, according to The Denver Post.

The most recent game against USC is just another instance of poor officiating against the Cougs in their matchups. In 2018, a Trojan defender leaped off of two feet, led with the crown of his helmet and purposely hit WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew in the head with full force.

By definition, that was targeting and frankly, the defender deserved a lengthy suspension for a disgusting act against the star of the Cougs’ offense.

But, not only was the targeting not called, but the commissioner of the conference doubled-down saying the play was “really, really close.” Instead of owning up to the mistake and making the right decision to promote safety in the play, USC continued to benefit from poor calls.

Over the course of the 2019 season, in a game against the California Golden Bears, WSU had a huge kickoff return that was called back for a hands-to-the-face penalty. The problem lies in the fact that Cal was the culprit of the penalty but it was assessed to the Cougs.

It has been several years of poor officiating from the refs of the Pac-12 and many bad calls going against WSU. But, why is the officiating so bad?

The conference simply suffers from an ongoing problem of not doing enough to fix the problem. Firing officials who prove to be poor at their job is a good start, but if you turn around and hire even less qualified individuals, the problem will only get worse.

It is also questionable to allow for refs to officiate regular season games that include their alma mater, as there is a clear conflict of interests on display and will only continue to call into scrutiny their questionable calls.

Even with the conference looking as if it is going to implode with several teams leaving, the main focus remains on the refs and their poor performance on a weekly basis.