Memo Shows NFL Seeking Scouts' Help In Finding Replacement Refs
Shortly before the NFL on Monday locked out the 121 members of the NFL Referees Association, a league exec sent out a memo to scouts asking again for their help in finding replacement refs and officials, and asking them to target college football and other football officials who had retired or had been passed over for promotions. NFL Dir of Recruiting Officials Ron Baynes wrote in the Saturday, June 2, letter to scouts, “All applying officials should be in good health and look the part of a fit and capable official.” Baynes sent out a similar memo to scouts earlier this year, according to a report by Fox Sports in May. Baynes, in the June 2 memo, wrote that the league was seeking to interview the non-NFL officials and referees as part of a “contingency officiating replacement plan” in case a CBA is not reached. Baynes wrote that the NFL was “targeting” a certain type of official and listed seven attributes the league was looking for, including:
"(1) An Official who [has] recently retired from a successful career in College officiating and is still physically able to officiate at a high level of competency. (2) Lower division college officials, professional league officials and semi-professional league officials whose window of opportunity for advancement has pretty much closed but who have the ability to work higher levels but just got overlooked."
Baynes also wrote that the officials should be prepared to participate in an intensive training program; be able to pass an extensive background check; and provide a statement from their personal physician stating they are capable of the physical expectations of the work.
NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello declined to make Baynes available for an interview. Aiello said in an e-mail, “We are hiring experienced college football officials from all levels.” NFLRA General Counsel Michael Arnold did not respond to a text for comment on this story.