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SEC Commissioner Releases Statement On Football Officiating

A referee signaling a touchdown during a Florida Gators game.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The commissioner of the Southeastern Conference has released a statement on the conference's football officiating in the wake of some major criticism from several different fan bases.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey admits that criticism of the officiating has increased in recent seasons, perhaps with the rise of social media, allowing fans to voice their displeasure with calls more easily.

"While officials have always faced scrutiny, the effect has been intensified in recent years with the evolution of high-definition televisions and the ability to view super slow-motion replays from multiple angles on screens of all sizes and via replays shown on monster, crystal clear in-stadium video boards," he writes.

Sankey wrote a letter to SEC football fans addressing the officiating.

Here's part of it:

The rules of football permit us to utilize modern technologies to review some, but not all, officiating calls. And while some calls are overturned, we know from our extensive review of all game films that our officials get the call right in the vast, vast majority of situations. SEC Football Officials are dedicated to their work and approach each game with integrity and focus on fairly administering the competition.

But mistakes occur, and when errors happen, the next questions are, "What happens now? Where is the accountability?"

SEC officials are held accountable for the overall body of their work and the work of their officiating crew, which is reviewed on a weekly basis throughout the season and on an annual basis.

Ongoing performance evaluations are used to determine game assignments, postseason assignments, compensation levels and ultimately, whether an official is invited to return for the following season. You can learn more here.

In addition, during the season, officials' assignments may be altered based on in-season performance. By protocol, the SEC does not publicly announce these assignment changes.

SEC Bylaws require that coaches and administrators refrain from public criticism of officials, as well as making public comments about any specific communications with the Conference office related to officiating. This is a bylaw that was enacted by unanimous vote of the SEC's member institutions and it is the responsibility of the Conference office to enforce this bylaw by use of private or public reprimands, fines or suspensions.

The letter to fans also includes an outline of how the conference has attempted to be more upfront with its process.

The letter can be read in full here.