Four DIII conferences align officials
Goal is to expand education, evaluation and recruitment
Northern Athletic Conference
MILWAUKEE -- Four NCAA Division III athletic conferences are coming together as part of an historic agreement as the Midwest Football Officials’ Alliance-Division III (MFOA-DIII) and former National Football League (NFL) official Bill Carollo will now oversee all football officiating operations for the leagues beginning with the 2011 seasons. The leagues include: the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), Midwest Conference (MWC), Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).
As the principle operator of MFOA-DIII, Carollo will serve as the Coordinator of Officials on behalf of all four conferences and will be joined by assistant coordinators Tom Fiedler and Jim Lapetina.
The formation of the alliance is the first of its kind in Division III and will expand the education, evaluation and recruitment of officials as well as expand the pool of officials to provide greater flexibility among the four conferences. More than 150 football contests are conducted within the four participating conferences every fall, accounting for more than 1,000 football official assignments.
"The affiliation of the CCIW, MWC, NAC and the WIAC with the Midwest Football Officials Alliance 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 Gary Karner, commissioner of the WIAC.
Carollo, who started his collegiate officiating career in these partnered conferences, served as a Big Ten football official from 1980-88 and concluded a two-decade career with the NFL in 2008. He officiated Super Bowls XXX and XXXVII, was selected as an alternate referee for Super Bowl XXXVIII and managed eight AFC or NFC Championship games in his career. In 2009 Carollo was also named the Coordinator of Football Officials for the Big Ten.
"I am excited about my involvement in the formation of an alliance involving some of the top Division III conferences in the country,” Carollo said. “Our main goal will be improved on-field performance through a coordinated training program.”
Fiedler has spent the past six years as the coordinator of DIII football and men’s basketball officiating for the WIAC while also serving as the conference commissioner for the Big Rivers Conference at the high school level.
Jim Lapetina was the supervisor of officials for the Arena Football League from 2001-08 and currently is the Big Ten evaluator/grader of game officials and an NFL replay official since 2006, when he worked in the replay booth of Super Bowl XLIV.
Midwest Conference Commissioner Chris Graham noted, “We are fortunate to have the DIII knowledge and experience of Tom Fiedler and the professional officiating expertise of Jim Lapetina to support the efforts of our football officials in the Midwest region.”
"The new relationship with the Alliance will take our education, training and consistency to the next level for our officials building on the framework built by Jim Keogh,” said CCIW commissioner Chris Martin. “We also anticipate an increased emphasis on the recruitment of new officials moving forward."
With the MFOA, officials will no longer be assigned to a singule conference, but will be overseen by the association which will streamline standards and policies between the four conferences to ensure consistent officiating.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for our officials, coaches, and student-athletes to advance in terms of the resources and experience that Bill and his staff will bring to football in the CCIW, MWC, NAC and WIAC,” said Steve Larson, commissioner of the NAC. “The cooperation of the four conferences will most certainly enhance the quality and consistency of officiating for all concerned. The educational and technological components that will be provided will be a very positive step forward for all four conferences.”