Baynes speaks to Selma Quarterback Club

Published 10:03 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

The Selma Quarterback Club saw a decrease in attendance and increase in interest on Monday at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

Approximately 140 members turned out to hear former SEC and NFL official Ronnie Baynes — 40 fewer than the 180 who turned out to hear former Auburn coach Pat Dye last week — but the litany of questions asked of Baynes displayed a keen interest in officiating issues.

“It was another good meeting. I thought it was a good change of pace,” said Selma Quarterback Club “quarterback” W. Forrest Hatfield. “I think you could tell from the many questions we had that there was a lot of interest. We had an unusually high number of questions.”

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Baynes was asked to speak to the club by one of his former assistant coaches, Bill Porter, and he jumped at the chance.

“It’s really nice. I appreciate the opportunity to come back to Selma,” said Baynes. “I’ve seen a couple of my ex-players and former players that I coached when they were here in school.”

Asked which collegiate football conference tends to produce the best officials, Baynes gave an unexpected answer.

“I think the best officiating comes from where the best high school football is played,” he said.

But what most stuck in his mind is football’s evolution. He sees a different product on the field today.

Officials are required to be in shape, coaches today officials rather than yelling at them and officials have transitioned from part time to full time employees.

He also offered insight on the evolution of instant replay. The system debuted in 1986, but was scrapped due to frequent game stoppages. The fans demanded its return and it was brought back.

But the system is not cheap. There are an average of 2.3 replays per game, and each overturned call costs approximately $80,000.

Baynes was a head coach in Selma from 1968-1972. He was the last coach at A.G. Parrish High School and the first at the newly formed Selma High School.

“More than anything else, I’m proud that I was a part of the transition from A.J. Parrish High School to Selma High School,” said Baynes.

He became an SEC official in 1974, and joined the NFL in 1987.

In 2001, he became the league’s supervisor of officials. Following the 2007 season, he vacated his position — as stipulated by NFL rules — when his son, Allen, became an NFL official.

He now serves as the NFL’s director of scouting and officiating.