Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

For many universities, there are two sports: football, and spring football! Now that May is almost here, football team around America are winding down their spring drills. Last year’s losses are a distant memory, and everyone is optimistic about what the 2014 season has in store. The spring practices, scrimmages and spring games are becoming more and more important as a key element in developing a football program. The interest of fans and the media continues to climb.    

For college football officials these spring practices are just as important as they are to the players and coaches. Now that all the rules changes are in place, officials have been gathering in local study groups to work on learning the new rules, refresh their understanding of the existing rules and challenge each other with quizzes and play situations to sharpen their knowledge.

On the field the spring practices serve as training time for officials as much as for the players. Most colleges and universities work with the officiating staffs of their conferences to have officials work at their practices and scrimmages, and most especially at the spring games. It is an important opportunity for the coordinators of officials to see some new officials work on the field – especially those who are potential candidates for the officiating staff. Veteran officials also welcome the spring scrimmages and games, where they can begin getting back into thinking about the fall season.

Next up for the officials are the annual clinics and camps, where they will get more training and preparation. And, before anyone realizes it, football practice for the fall will be here again.