CHARLOTTE, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) have announced the SIAC has joined the ACC’s football officiating alliance that includes the ACC, Big South Conference and Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), Ivy League, Northeast Conference (NEC) and Patriot League.
The SIAC joining the alliance is a first of its kind, as the SIAC becomes the first college athletic conference that consists mostly of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to join a football officiating alliance. Formed in 1913, the SIAC is affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) at the Division II level, with all but one member located in the Southern United States.
The football officiating alliance enables all eight conferences to work together on a wide range of officiating matters, including training, development, recruitment, retention, scheduling, and evaluation. The mission of the alliance is to increase proficiency and consistency among officials across the collegiate football officiating landscape, to aid in the development of less experienced officials, and to increase diversity throughout the profession.
“We are dedicated to continuously improving our officiating program as well as our alliance that supports football officiating at all levels,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “It is terrific to have the SIAC join the alliance and I applaud Alberton Riveron and Michael Strickland for their tireless efforts in this area. The ongoing effects to enhance consistency and diversity in officiating is critical to our mission.”
“The SIAC is excited to partner with the ACC as a member of its football officiating alliance. Our goal is to provide our officials with the best possible training in hopes of improving the quality of their officiating while providing a diverse pipeline of talent to all leagues that are a part of the alliance,” stated SIAC Commissioner Anthony Holloman on the groundbreaking partnership. “This partnership reinforces the SIAC’s dedication to providing the best possible experiences for its student-athletes, member institutions, and fans. The conference looks forward to a future marked by excellence, fairness, and the highest caliber of officiating in collegiate football.”
“It is an honor and privilege to welcome the women and men of the SIAC to the ACC officiating alliance,” said Alberto Riveron, ACC Supervisor of Football Officials. “A great conference with years of tradition, outstanding institutions, and an officiating organization that prides themselves on hard work and establishing a learning culture which is second to none. We look forward to working together which allows us to be a part of making officiating better at all levels of football.”
The alliance will continue to be administered by the ACC via Riveron. He will be supported by supervisors of football officials from the other seven leagues – Big South/OVC, CAA, Ivy, NEC, Patriot and SIAC. Each supervisor will be responsible for the weekly evaluation of officials for their respective conferences and will be the primary point person between their conferences and the conferences’ head football coaches.
The ACC’s eight position supervisors – Brad Allen (Referee), Fred Bryan (Umpire), Paul King (Center Judge), Rusty Baynes (Head Line Judge and Line Judge), Tom Stephan (Head Line Judge and Line Judge), Tom Hill (Field, Side and Back Judges), Brad Freeman (Field, Side and Back Judges) and Mark Bitar (Replay) – bring many years of experience to the alliance and are major components of the training program which sets the ACC apart from the rest of the major conferences.
Allen has worked as an official for over 35 years and moved directly from college to the NFL in 2014, becoming the first referee to make the direct move at that position since 1962, while Bryan worked in the collegiate ranks from 2006-09 before transitioning to the NFL, where he has been assigned at least one playoff game in 10 of the last 11 years, including the Super Bowl in 2018 and 2020.
King has been an official in the NFL since 2009 and most recently officiated the 2022 NFC championship game and was an alternate umpire for Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California. Baynes is in his 14th season as an NFL official after working 10 seasons at the college level, Stephan has been an NFL official for over 20 years and has worked numerous playoff games, Pro Bowls, and Hall of Fame games, and Hill is in his 25th season as an official in the NFL after working more than seven years at the collegiate level.
Freeman worked eight seasons in college football and is currently in his 10th season in the NFL, while Bitar has worked 12 seasons in college football and served as both an NFL instant replay video operator and NFL instant replay assistant.
In addition to the eight position supervisors, Barry Anderson and Anthony Jeffries are game evaluators, while Jeff Roberson serves as the Gameday Operations Control Collaborative Official.
Another NFL official, Anderson has received a total of 18 postseason assignments including Super Bowl LIV (54) and Super Bowl XLIX (49) in which he was an alternate during his 16-year NFL career after working collegiately. Jeffries has been a football official for 18 years, working his way up from high school to college and now in the NFL, where he has officiated in at least one playoff game each year since 2019.
Roberson is in his 48th season as a football official at both the high school and collegiate levels, has served as the football officiating coordinator at three different collegiate conferences, and worked as a collaborative replay official since 2016.
About the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
The SIAC is a NCAA athletic conference consisting primarily of historically black colleges and universities with headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The SIAC includes 15 member institutions (Albany State University, Allen University, Benedict College, Central State University, Clark Atlanta University, Edward Waters University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, Spring Hill College, and Tuskegee University), which are located within a contiguous six-state footprint (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio). The SIAC sponsors seven men’s and six women’s sports and is a proud member of the NCAA Division II. For more information, visit thesiac.com.
About the Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 71st year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. The ACC currently sponsors 28 NCAA sports – 15 for women and 13 for men – with member institutions located in 10 states. In August 2019, ESPN and the ACC partnered to launch ACC Network (ACCN), a 24/7 national network dedicated to ACC sports and league-wide original programming. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @accsports on Instagram and @theACC on Twitter and on Facebook (facebook.com/theACC).