For years now, the Pac-12 Conference’s football game officials have become a laughingstock of that profession, not to mention they’ve come under scrutiny for how they’ve carried out their jobs.

Well, apparently the problems have gotten even worse this spring.

Earlier this week, Ben Austro of Football Zebras first reported that five of the Pac-12’s more experienced officials have left the conference, with four of them going to the Big Ten Conference (one retired).

Austro reported that three of the officials who went to the Big Ten are referees, while one is a center judge.

One line of scrimmage official is also leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, and another is leaving for the NFL, Austro reported.

Austro reported that the Pac-12 had seven officiating crews last season.

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“David Coleman, the vice president of officiating for the Pac-12, has a crisis on his hands, much like in 2018 when the NFL lost four longtime referees in a hiring spree from the TV networks,” Austro wrote. “... This is a massive drain of talent at the heads of the crews.”

Making matters worse, as Austro observed, the Pac-12 does not have a good feeder program for officials from smaller conferences like the other four power conferences.

Pac-12 insider Jon Wilner of The Mercury News’ Hotline reported Wednesday that the conference confirmed the departures and has begun the process of replacing them.

“A source in the officiating industry told the Hotline that the departing officials viewed the Big Ten as an enticing opportunity — the difference in salary isn’t believed to be substantial — and a chance to separate from David Coleman, the Pac-12’s vice president for officiating,” Wilner wrote.