ACC announces enhancements within football officiating program
Chris Junjulas, a long-time on-field ACC football official, will transition to the league’s Game Day Operations Center in Greensboro, where he will serve as the assistant supervisor of instant replay. Junjulas will support ACC Supervisor of Football Officials Dennis Hennigan in the collaborative replay process on gamedays and will be a liaison in the year-round recruitment, development and training of ACC on-field and replay football officials.
Junjulas will work the upcoming season alongside current assistant supervisor Ted Jackson, who will retire from this position following the 2021 season, his 50th year of service with ACC football. Jackson was an ACC on-field official for 33 years – working 15 bowl games during that span – before moving to the replay booth where he worked from 2005-15. A native of Raleigh, Jackson was hired as the league’s first assistant coordinator for football replay in 2016.
Through the course of the ACC’s annual offseason football officials roster evaluation and hiring process, the league has hired Karina Tovar as the first ACC on-field female official. A native of West Covina, California, Tovar served the past two years as a Conference USA official. She joins an ACC on-field officiating staff that has combined for 1,518 total seasons of experience, including 622 in the conference. The average experience per official is 8.5 years in the ACC and 20 seasons overall.
“The continued enhancement of our officiating program is another example of the renewed focus and commitment to football as a top priority,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “As we begin week one of ACC Football, we are proud of the work that has been done throughout the offseason to elevate our officiating program with diversity, education, collaboration and technology.”
Longtime highly respected ACC referee Ron Cherry, who retired from active on-field officiating following the 2016 season and has been a consultant to the ACC, will now serve as the league’s lead scout in recruiting the next generation of football officials. Cherry joined the ACC as a side judge in 1993 and became the league’s first Black referee in 1994.
The ACC also will continue to enlist the services of several NFL officials – Brad Allen, Ed Camp, Tom Hill, Paul King and Tony Steratore (retired) – to provide weekly position-specific teaching and evaluation of the league’s on-field officials, a process that began several years ago. In addition to Hennigan and Jackson, three independent active or former officials – Allen, Don Lucas, and James Coleman – grade ACC football games and provide performance evaluations of officials.
The ACC also has enhanced and upgraded the technology available to its football officials during games. For all ACC-officiated games this season, the referee will now be equipped with a tablet during replay reviews, which will allow for more active participation in the instant replay process. With complete access to the instant replay video, the referee can better administer the review with the assistance of the replay official and replay communicator in the stadium and the collaborative instant replay staff in Greensboro.
Each of the ACC replay systems will be updated with a new, state-of-the-art DVSport HD Replay™ 12-input video system, which will equip the replay official with three times as many camera angles – as compared to the previous five seasons – in real time as the play occurs. This change will help eliminate unnecessary stoppages and expedite the length of the review.
Since 2018, the ACC has administered a Football Officiating Alliance, which now includes the American Athletic Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Patriot League, Ivy League and Liberty, Army, Notre Dame, UConn and UMass. The alliance allows all parties to work together on a wide range of officiating matters, including scheduling, training, development, recruitment, retention and evaluation. The long-term mission of the alliance is to increase proficiency and consistency among veteran officials across the collegiate football officiating landscape and to facilitate the entry of younger officials into the profession.