The SEC has announced that it will have an eight-man officiating crew for the 2014 season on a trial basis, according to Jon Solomon of CBS Sports.
The Big 12 introduced eight-referee units last season and plan to continue the practice this year, with the Big Ten, AAC and ACC also considering the move.
The new official will be known as the center judge and will begin each play in the offensive backfield. The SEC plans to rotate the new crew so that each team in the conference plays a game officiated by the eight man group.
SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw says the move is not intended to increase the tempo of the game.
“People think we're putting the eighth official in so we can go even faster (given the ongoing debate about up-tempo offenses),” Shaw said. “That absolutely is not the case. The expectation is the pace of the game, whether it's seven or eight, will be very consistent across the board.”ELLIS: SEC announces it will remain at eight scheduled conference games