The Atlantic Sun Conference has joined forces with both the Southeastern Conference and American Athletic Conference to form a new officiating consortium, the leagues announced on Wednesday.
The goal of the consortium is to increase the quality of officiating in all three leagues by providing a way for each to collaborate, share officials, train them and recruit new ones.
Mark Whitehead, who was recently named Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials in the SEC, will serve in the same position for both the AAC and the ASUN, overseeing all operations of this consortium.
“Partnering with elite conferences in the SEC and The American continues to showcase our commitment to enhancing the level of officiating within our league,” ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said in the conference’s news release. “We look forward to the men’s basketball officiating consortium providing top-level training as well as systematic assigning and evaluations for our officials. This collaboration will create great benefits for all three conferences.”
From the SEC’s perspective, this represents an important step in the conference’s goal of improving the perception of its men’s basketball teams. Earlier this year, the SEC hired former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese as a consultant to improve the league, which has been ranked the worst out of the Power 5 conferences three of the last four years, according to KenPom.
"We are pleased to be collaborating with The American and the ASUN to continue the enhancement of men's basketball officiating," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in the release. "We are focused on improving the quality of men's basketball officiating and this consortium.”
For the ASUN, it’s an opportunity to be associated with two major conferences as the league struggles to find an identity.