College Football: The Fix is In!

Ryan FliederContributor INovember 4, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: SEC referee Marc Curles watches play as the Florida Gators host the Arkansas Razorbacks October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Regardless on your position, officiating has been absolutely horrendous this year. The SEC was forced to suspend a handful of officials, then a ton of questionable calls all favor Florida in games they go on to win on drives aided by penalties, then the Tennessee/Alabama game has several controversial calls.

It's not just limited to the SEC, however. Big 10 fans were forced to watch the most godawful display of favoritism in the Indiana/Iowa game, and more and more murmurings have been coming up that USC tends to get a large number of favorable calls in Pac-10 games.

Something is wrong. Something is very wrong.

I'm not going to say that I believe it's some mass conspiracy for an Alabama/Florida BCS Championship. I'm not going to say that referees were paid off. I'm not going to say that simple bias on the officials' part leads to obvious favoritism in some situations.

The truth is that I have no idea why these things have been happening, I simply know that they have been.

So why, exactly, are investigations being snuffed out? The SEC claimed a few weeks ago that they'd be doing an investigation, and now it's apparent that they were simply pandering to the doomsayers to get everyone to shut up long enough to forget about a game being, for whatever reason, fixed.

And yet NOTHING comes about of these things. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! A loss is a loss, and I understand that, but in a game where the referees are a bigger factor than the opposing team, how can we ever say that two teams even fought against one another, rather than one team fighting the refs?

Again, I have no idea why these things have been happening, and maybe they've always happened and just now in the age of a dozen camera angles for every play that we get to see it, but you absolutely cannot deny that referees have played a larger part in several key matchups than the two teams have.


What makes me so nervous about this is that it hasn't become a media fiasco. Were the bad calls in the Florida/Arkansas, Iowa/Indiana, or whatever game the forefront of the issues at hand in the media, everyone would be forced to confront it.

But that's not what's happening. These blatant ethical violations are being swept under the rug, to the point where now if anyone speaks up they're just sore losers. If the game has lost that much integrity to where now the poster boy teams have the referees on their side, two things will happen:


1. Because these games are not just games, but decide how millions of dollars of scholarship money get handed out, you will force the government to step in. If wins and losses only meant pride, then the government would have no say... but for a couple years now senators have been pushing legislation through that would force a college playoff system. Not because some senator is just a homer who really wanted their team to be in the championship, but because if millions of dollars are being handed out in a very biased manner, you can cite discrimination law and declare the BCS system illegal .

2. With the popular team getting flags thrown at their whim, the fans will stop caring. College football has seen a swell in viewership over the last few decades, but if these games are so blatantly shown to be unregulated, with officials making obviously biased calls, people like me will stop caring. There is no reason for me to bother with college football if you simply intend to fix the system to ensure that Florida and Alabama (or any two particular teams, these two seem to be this year's duo).


So to the NCAA I issue a dire warning: If you do not actively seek to fix this problem, if bad refereeing and a fixed system goes unchecked, you will lose that which is most precious to you.

You will lose me.