Campbell gets the call for championship game

Danny Summers
Posted

COLORADO SPRINGS - The Bat Phone finally rang in Randy Campbell’s home.

The long-time NCAA football official got “the call” last month that he had long been waiting for.

The voice on the other end informed Campbell that he had been selected to work the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama.

“The chances of working the national championship game are extremely slim,” said Campbell, a resident of Fox Run. “A lot of things have to fall into place.”

Campbell worked as the line judge for the game, which was held at 76,100-seat Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

He flew to south Florida on Jan. 5, where he took part in a series of pregame meetings with the other six game officials (and on alternate).

There are hundreds of officials who work Division I games. But the likelihood of working the BCS National Championship game means that several pieces have to fall into place. The game is rotated among conference officials. The Pac 12 was assigned to work this year’s game. Officials are graded on their weekly performance. Campbell had the highest rating among line judges in the Pac 12.

Officials also can’t work the game if their alma mater is playing in it, and they can’t work the game if one of their conference teams (in this case the Pac 12) is playing in the game.

“It’s an honor,” said Campbell, who was accompanied by his wife, Janet, on the trip to Florida. “When you think about what this game means and everything that goes into it, it’s really a chance of a lifetime.”

Campbell’s distinguished officiating career includes seven previous Bowl games, including the Liberty Bowl in 2011.

He conceded there was extra excitement surrounding this year’s BCS National Championship game, but he didn’t approach it any differently than he would have a regular season matchup between two lower level Pac 12 teams.

“The field is still 100 yards long and there are two 10-yard end zones,” Campbell said. “I don’t get nervous before a game. That’s mean’s you’re not prepared. You have to go out and do your job.”

Three other Colorado Springs area officials are also worked Bowl games this season. Greg Burks refereed at the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1; umpire Tim Schroeder worked the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1; and Nick Lave was at the Liberty Bowl December 31 in Memphis.

“One of my goals is to work the national championship game,” Burks said. “I’m happy for Randy. It’s a real honor and he deserves it.”

Campbell also is a Division I women’s college basketball official. He works three conferences. He was in Las Vegas for a week in December working a tournament at Thomas and Mack Arena.

Because he is rated on his performance, Campbell has to pass a rules test and physical fitness test every year. He is evaluated throughout each season and has to maintain good ratings to have his year-to-year contract renewed, or to work a bowl game.

Campbell watches a lot of game film, but not for the purpose studying teams he is going to officiate.

“We watch our performance as a crew,” he said. “We usually do 10 hours of film review each week before we go onto our next game. You try to worry about the things you do control, not the things you can’t control.”