Boardman resident agrees to work as ACC football official | News, Sports, Jobs


BEAVER TOWNSHIP — The upcoming college football season marks the 31st for Boardman resident and Atlantic Coast Conference grid official Rob Luklan.

With 24 years of experience at the Division I level, the 2022 season is also his 10th as a back judge in one of the Power-5 conferences, a league that has two – Clemson University won both – national championships over the past six years.

Luklan officiated several prime-time games during his college tenure, noting his bosses’ No. 1 directive and the NCAA remains the safety of all players.

“As an official, the management of the game is important, but the safety of the players is paramount,” he told the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at the Avion Banquet Center. “The NCAA also emphasizes no taunting and I couldn’t agree more. of the head, are something officials always err on the side of safety.

Fans can again expect several rule changes in 2022, one of which is the NCAA’s proposal to allow blocking below the waist, but only for inside linemen.

A veteran of 14 playoff assignments — Luklan’s most recent game was the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 when Purdue beat Tennessee, 48-45 in overtime — his crew last season also welcomed the first female official on the ACC court to Karina Tovar, a court judge.

“The Atlantic Coast Conference added its first female official last season and I had the honor of working with her when she was assigned to our crew. She’s a great official who really knows the game. added Luklan, who worked 267 Division I games — in addition to the ACC, he also worked in the Big Ten and Mid-American conferences — and 330 total when adding his time in the Ohio Athletic Conference. “I feel good and I would like to stay on the pitch as long as possible. When the time comes to quit, I will definitely consider becoming a replay official.

Of the 64 teams that make up the Power-5 conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — Luklan has yet to be assigned to just 11 of those teams.

The offseason for college officials is anything but downtime.

“I will receive my assignments for the upcoming season in June and then in July the league is hosting all officials for a three day clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Luklan said. “Current and former NFL field officials come and teach us a variety of things we should expect as we take physical agility tests, written tests, and watch hours of game footage. The days are long, last more than 14 hours, but everything is done to prepare us for the coming season. Dennis Hennigan is our Director of Officials, he is great at his job and does a fantastic job training us. »

Luklan, who has already worked two spring games — Syracuse on April 1 and Pitt on April 9 — is also entering his 10th season this year as the ACC liaison for Pitt University practices. He has also refereed Wednesday practices for the Cleveland Browns for the past 12 seasons and last year was called in for midweek practices for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“My responsibility with Pitt is to make sure I take care of the coach. [Pat] Narduzzi’s needs”, he stated. “I will coordinate their practice days and times to ensure they have officials while other ACC officials are also assigned as a team to assist with their practices and needs. Along with the Browns and Steelers, they need officials to reduce their errors on game day.

Luklan’s refereeing career began at the age of 23 when he worked area school games for the Youngstown Football Officials Association.

Five years later, he was selected to the refereeing staff of the Ohio Athletic Conference, working under the direction and tutelage of his then supervisor of officials and local resident, Dr. Larry Glass.

“I consider Dr. Glass to be my mentor,” noted Luklan. “He had patience with me, always guided and directed me and I can’t thank him enough for everything he did to further my career.”

In addition to Glass and Hennigan, Luklan credits former NFL manager Dick Creed, fellow OAC managers Brian Meenachan and team manager Ken Swanson, MAC and ACC replay manager Jim Visingardi, who joined him at Monday’s meeting, Big Ten officials Tom Krispinsky and Julius Livas, former Big Ten and NFL officials supervisor Bob Walker, and heads of high school officials from the region, the late Fred Vicarel, Mike Butch, the late Dutch Miller and John Mang, as well as others who have contributed to the advancement of his career.

Next Monday, Bernie Profato, commissioner of the Ohio Athletic Commission, will be the guest speaker.

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