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.
BlueandGold.com’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.
Blueandgold.com 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.”)