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Four Division III conferences – the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the Midwest Conference, the Northern Athletics Conference and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – have partnered to form the Midwest Football Officials Alliance.
The alliance is the first of its kind in Division III. It will expand the education, evaluation and recruitment of officials – as well as expand the pool of officials – to provide greater flexibility among the four leagues. More than 150 football contests are played annually within the four conferences and demand more than 1,000 officiating assignments.
“This affiliation represents a monumental shift to a model that will provide the resources to recruit and train collegiate football officials at a level far beyond what any one Division III conference could possibly accomplish on its own,” said WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner.
Former NFL official Bill Carollo will oversee operations beginning with the 2011 season and serve as coordinator of officials. Tom Fiedler and Jim Lapetina will serve as assistant coordinators.
The affiliation means that football officials will no longer be assigned to a single conference. Rather, they will be overseen by the alliance, which will streamline standards and policies among the four conferences to ensure consistent officiating.
“The cooperation of the four conferences will most certainly enhance the quality and consistency of officiating for all concerned,” said NAC Commissioner Steve Larson. “The educational and technological components that will be provided will be a positive step forward for all four conferences.”
Carollo, who started his collegiate officiating career in these partnered conferences, served as a Big Ten football official from 1980 to 1988 and concluded a two-decade career with the NFL in 2008. He officiated Super Bowls XXX and XXXVII and was selected as an alternate referee for Super Bowl XXXVIII. He also managed eight AFC or NFC championship games in his career. In 2009, Carollo was named the coordinator of football officials for the Big Ten.
He said a primary goal for the alliance will be to improve on-field performance through a coordinated training program.
Fiedler has spent the past six years as the coordinator of football and men’s basketball officiating for the WIAC. He also has been a conference commissioner at the high school level. Lapetina is an evaluator and grader of game officials for the Big Ten and has been a NFL replay official since 2006, when he worked in the replay booth of Super Bowl XLIV. He was the supervisor of officials for the Arena Football League from 2001 to 2008.