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The NCAA is allowing conferences to experiment with 8-man officiating crews

There could be another set of zebra stripes heading to a field near you.

 Last year, the NCAA allowed the Big 12 to up its officiating crews from seven to eight on an experimental basis, a move that the NCAA and Big 12 seemed to have liked.

"They feel like it's something that was a very successful experiment last year," Big 12 coordinator of officials Walt Anderson told "It's very well-supported by other coordinators. They want to open it up to any conference."

Now, the NCAA is allowing all FBS conferences to add an eighth official without the need for prior approval. The SEC will tinker with an extra ref this spring, and the Mountain West has considered the same. 

Anderson said the eighth official didn't have an extraordinarily noticeable effect on play one way or the other. And isn't that the point of officiating in the first place, to direct traffic and get out of the way?

"(The extra official) had a much better idea to allow appropriate substitutions for the defense," Anderson said. "It benefited the offense when appropriate and benefited the defense when appropriate."