With the change in name (formerly the Big East) and in membership (most members are former Conference USA schools), the American Athletic Conference was bound to undergo a change in its officiating.
On Friday the league announced that it has joined a five-league officiating consortium that includes the Big 12, Conference USA, Ohio Valley and Southland conferences. The conference now has a more southern/midwest feel (with the notable exception of UConn and Temple; Rutgers leaves in 2014), so it makes sense to partner with conferences in that portion of the country.
“Joining the officiating consortium will allow The American to work with four other outstanding conferences in attracting, identifying, developing and assigning top-flight officials for college basketball,” American commissioner Mike Aresco said in the statement announcing the move.
“We believe the consortium will serve all of our member institutions well and will provide a great experience for our men’s basketball student-athletes and programs.”
This consortium is the most recent move that’s been made in attempt to not only cultivate officiating talent but also cut down on travel. The Mountain West and Pac-12 announced a similar venture in early June, with the idea being that such an arrangement will not only result in fresher officials but also lead to more consistent officiating across the country.
The five-league consortium will be run by Curtis Shaw, who has more than 1,500 games of experience as a college official in addition to working in seven Final Fours.
“We are pleased to have the American Athletic Conference join our officiating consortium,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the release. “The affiliation promises to be an enhancement to basketball officiating and to the development of officials for all parties involved.”
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.