CANTON, Ohio -- A crew of officials with college experience worked the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, filling in for regulars who are locked out in a labor dispute with the NFL.
It was a glimpse of what's to come if the NFL and the officials' union fail to reach an agreement before the season openers.
Craig Ochoa, who has worked Big Ten games, will referee the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals. Ochoa has eight years of experience in BCS conferences and 16 years of officiating Division III games.
The other five officials also have worked college games. Most of them also have experience in other professional leagues, such as the Arena Football League.
Umpire Timothy Morris has worked 16 years in BCS conferences, including the Pac-12. Head linesman Kevin Akin has six years in Division II. Line judge Esteban Garza has one year in Division III. Field judge Rusty Spindel had 25 years in BCS conferences. Side judge Dwayne Strozier has worked 12 years in Division III. Back judge Mark Wetzel has five years in Division II.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Saturday that the NFL and the officials' union had talks last week. The NFL has been training replacement officials for a couple of months to be ready for preseason games and the regular season, should the sides fail to reach an agreement.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press