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Ref School Says Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) VP Duped Them on Road to NFL Disaster

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"...the Academy does not claim responsibility for Mr. Easley's successes or perceived failures as an official."

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL By now, just about everyone in the television-viewing world knows that an NFL replacement ref blew a decision on Monday that has been described as "one of the worst calls in professional football history."

Fewer people are aware that the offending official, one Lance Easley of Santa Maria, California, is a VP for Small Business Banking at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).

From his bio:

Mr. Easley is tasked with reaching out to the small business community in order to grow Bank of America's portfolio while also giving small businesses the financial tools they need to flourish. He works tirelessly at networking, marketing and relationship building, paying special attention to deepening existing relationships with current clients. His goal is to help them use the products and services offered by the bank to streamline and build their businesses.

In the discharge of his duties at Bank of America, Mr. Easley is able to draw on a distinguished career as a high-level sales and marketing executive. His work has been consistently distinguished by his perseverance, his open-mindedness and his ability to adapt to ever-changing situations.

Mr. Easley, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, also serves as an official for high school and college football and basketball. In addition, he is on the board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

His "ability to adapt to ever-changing situations" may come in handy, as Mr. Easley will likely find himself searching out other officiating opportunities after his disastrous on-field performance.

Easley, who like all replacement officials, is earning $3,000 per game while the NFL's lockout of its full-time referees continues (the fight began -- and rages on -- over a proposed switch from pension plans to 401(k ) accounts). However, his qualifications have come into question -- and not only because his only pre-NFL officiating experience consists of high school and junior college contests. No, the training academy that prepared Easley for his star turn claims it was duped.

The Stars and Stripes Academy for Football Officials has posted the following statement on its website (emphasis mine):

In light of last night's (9/24/12) controversial ending to the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football game and the involvement of NFL replacement official Lance Easley, the Stars and Stripes Academy (SASA) would like to make the following statement:

Lance Easley was a student at the 2012 SASA, a three-day training academy for aspiring college officials. Mr. Easley's application to SASA indicated he was working at the small college level and interested in becoming a Division I official. Prior to and during the 2012 Academy, the SASA staff was unaware of Mr. Easley's intentions to become an NFL replacement official.

At the Academy, Mr. Easley (along with 50+ other aspiring college officials) was given instruction related to college football officiating by a staff comprised of current FBS/BCS level college officials. SASA is not in any way affiliated with the NFL or NFL officiating. There are no NFL officials on the staff and training is focused solely on college rules, mechanics and philosophies.

The mission of SASA is to prepare officials to work Division I football, and identify officials with the ability to work at that level. Mr. Easley, along with the other officials at the Academy, was evaluated for that purpose. At the time of the Academy, Mr. Easley was a good official who appeared to have the skill set to work at his present level which was Junior College and Division III; however, SASA staff considered him to be unprepared to work at the D-I level at that time.

In conclusion, although Mr. Easley received three days of college football training at the 2012 SASA, the Academy does not claim responsibility for Mr. Easley's successes or perceived failures as an official. That responsibility belongs solely to the NFL, who has been training Lance Easely as a replacement official for the past three months and assigned him games at a level they felt he was prepared to work.

To be fair, the NFL's regular officials hold day jobs, too. Ed Hochuli, one of the league's most respected refs, is an Arizona trial lawyer when not calling games. Jerome Boger is an underwriter for Allstate Insurance (ALL). And Jeff Triplette is Vice President for Risk Management at Duke Energy (DUK).

There's no shortage of people who would like to see them back on the field, ASAP -- including President Obama, who took to Twitter after Easley's now-infamous call, writing: "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."

Neither Bank of America nor Easley have commented on the incident.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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