staff, May 15, 2014

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

According to, the Big Ten has agreed to increase its football officiating crews from seven officials to eight for all home games starting this fall. The added official, the center judge, will line up in the offensive backfield opposite the head referee.

The Big 12 used eight officials last season and will do so again in 2014. Recently, the SEC and ACC have announced they will add an eighth official this fall.

The last time the Big Ten increased its number of officials — six to seven —  was in 1983.

"We're looking for improved officiating — that's the No. 1 reason," Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo told "We feel the eighth man can help that. It helps with quality, more accuracy and there's probably a few plays we're missing because of some blind spots, some gaps on the field with coverage."

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