Skip to content

Night game at Big House will feature Big East refs

Jul 20, 2011, 1:39 PM EDT


There’s nothing more annoying than blaming the referees for a loss. But a few close finishes in the Notre Dame-Michigan series and some uneven breaks in the 2009 game had Irish fans taking a hard look at some controversial decisions by Big Ten referees.

While they won’t turn around any past losses, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick did get a pretty bog win when he convinced Dave Brandon and Michigan to use Big East officials for the upcoming night game in Ann Arbor this September.’s Lou Somogyi has more:

In a recent negotiation with the University of Michigan, Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick achieved a feat that once might have been thought unattainable. has learned that Notre Dame’s Sept. 10 game at Michigan will be officiated by the Irish “home” Big East officials instead of a Big Ten crew. In the past, the language in the Notre Dame-Michigan contract stipulated that any Michigan game in its own stadium is to be officiated only by Big Ten crews.

Traditionally, Irish football contracts have had it that a visiting team to Notre Dame Stadium would bring its conference officiating crew to the game. So if a USC or Stanford visited Notre Dame, the referees would be from the Pac-10 conference. Then when the Irish would visit USC or Stanford, Notre Dame would supply its “home” officials (the Big East).

That has not been the case with Michigan, which had mandated that Big Ten officials are used for games in Ann Arbor while Notre Dame uses its Big East crews for its home games with the Wolverines.

Of course, changing refs won’t matter if Notre Dame doesn’t figure out how to break the hex that Michigan has on them, with the Wolverines shocking Notre Dame in consecutive years with last-second comebacks. Still, it’ll be nice to eliminate any threat of bias when it comes down to a proud rivalry, especially one that’s had its fair share of controversial calls.

(For those looking for them, here’s another example of Jack Swarbrick “getting it.”)

  1. trbowman - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Great news

    • bradwins - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      “More like super-great.”

      -Geico lady.

  2. 10of14 - Jul 20, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Big East hates ND due to their “stiffing” the conference by not joining them for football. With that said, not sure this is good news.

  3. ccad05 - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    At least we won’t have to worry about a “roughing the snapper” penalty this year

  4. smurphdoggy29 - Jul 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Hmmm not sure HOW to approach this one ?
    The officiating by the Big East Officials has been suspect at best, even in other Big East games, let alone at the Big (out)House.

    Any officiating crew that can go into Ann Arbor, or any main lining venue, and say they are NOT affected by the crowd,is be facetious at best. Hence forth there upon which we can only HOPE that these people stick to the basics and do their due diligence.

    I for one will not hold my breath. Michigan versus Notre Dame is always titanic in nature, let’s just (again) hope the officials can stay out of their own way, regardless the conference from whence they come.

    • bradwins - Jul 20, 2011 at 10:39 PM

      Yeah maybe Big East refs aren’t perfect, but they can’t be WORSE than the Big Ten refs.

      • kazmar619 - Jul 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM

        I believe there are some misleading info in this article. First of all there are two sets of officials at every game, the ones on the field and the ones in the replay booth. For all ND/Mich games in the recent past both the on field officials and the replay officials were Big 10 officials no matter if the game was at Mich or at ND. I believe what has now been agreed is that at Mich the on field officials will be Big East and the replay officials will be Big 10; at ND the on field officials will be Big 10 and the replay officials will be Big East.

        Also in the last two Mich/ND games if there were neutral officials I believe ND would have been up by 14-21 points and a last minute score by Mich would not have mattered to the final outcome.

        Of course the Big East officials hate ND as much as the Big 10 officials so there really is only a minor improvement with this “new agreement” (see the last play of the Mich State game last year). What ND needs is truly neutral officials like SEC officials on the field and MAC officials in the booth or something like that.

  5. irishbuckeye - Jul 21, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    @bradwins PROGRESSIVE* lady

  6. paiten34 - Jul 23, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    Officials can and have changed ND Michigan games in recent years. However I’ve always believed that if you just take care of business on the field it will lessen the impact that the officials can make. That being said the refs can make that difficult. I just hope that ND can have a large enough lead at the end of the game to keep the officials from impacting the out come. The revived ND defense and running game should help keeping the refs from changing the out come. We are ND!!!!!!!!!

  7. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Jul 23, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    This game is overhyped already. And the uniforms for both teams look like ass.

  8. papadec - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    I guess that to be really cynical – having biased officials from the SEC, or any other major conference, could result in those officials favoring the team that would have the lesser chance of beating a team (from their conference) in the BCS selection or Championship game. I agree with paiten34 – take care of business during the first 58 minutes, so that nothing that happens in the final 2 minutes can change the final outcome.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!