On Saturday March 16th, 2019 the first three Black officials (referees) were inducted into the SC Football Officials Association Hall of Fame at a special ceremony held at Seawells in Columbia. The inductees were: Sam Davis and Doug Hudson of Columbia and Granderson James of Sumter.
It is extremely difficult to qualify to get in. Since 1943 only 90 referees statewide have met the objective criteria. Some of the criteria are:
• Worked a minimum of 20 years in SC Football Officials Association and be in good standing.
• Work seven (7) State Championships. Only the top 5 officials qualify out of 120 at each position. Officials are graded on field performance, rules knowledge (test), meeting attendance, punctuality, etc.
• Work the Shrine Bowl Game. Only one (1) official qualifies every two years at their position, and that official would have to be #1 ranked that year.
• Work the North South All Star Game. Only one (1) official qualifies every year at that position.
• Serve in a leadership capacity for three years being a state or local officer. (This is extremely time consuming. Participants work almost as many hours a week as a real job.)
• Officiated at least 250 varsity football games. Not many games first four years, then an average of 12 going forward. That would be 24 years for the average official barring any disruption.
As you can see it takes commitment, fortitude, integrity and guys to even be an official much less the best.