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Former NFL Director of Officiating Art McNally spoke to students about drug testing for referees and other experiences from his career Wednesday. [Alex Lapinski/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

In the spring of 2000, the Wharton Wide World of Sports Club brought Mets manager Bobby Valentine to campus for the now-infamous question and answer session where certain remarks Valentine made about Mets players pushed the event into the national spotlight.

And Wednesday, the club brought another big name sports figure to Penn. Only this time, there were no controversial remarks and no national spotlight.

About 20 students welcomed former National Football League Director of Officiating Art McNally to Vance Hall for a discussion on the business of sports.

Club president and Wharton junior Justin Schmaltz thought McNally was a perfect representative to promote the club's objective.

"Our mission is to give members a better understanding of the relationship between sports and business," he said.

McNally certainly understands that football is not just a sport, but a business as well. He worked as an NFL field judge and referee for nine seasons before climbing his way to head of the NFL officiating department in 1973, where he served until his retirement in 1991.

McNally eventually returned to the NFL in 1996 to work as an assistant supervisor of officials, a position he still holds today.

Wednesday's moderately-sized audience, mainly avid football fans, wanted to discuss some of the questionable officiating calls made this past season.

The Tom Brady "incomplete pass" decision was a hot topic.

Just two weeks prior to the New England Patriots' Super Bowl upset, the team's season appeared to be all but over until the referees reversed a call that turned a fumble into an incomplete pass at the end of the game. The Patriots were allowed to keep the ball and sent the game to overtime, eventually winning on a field goal.

McNally sided with the referees in the heavily debated call.

"I knew it was going to be an incomplete pass... his arm was going forward -- that's the rule," he said.

McNally also answered questions in regard to the referee strike that plagued the league at the start of this past season.

"It was touch and go, but eventually the referees got a good raise," McNally said. "Bottom line, they got it pretty good."

NFL referees made over $4,000 a game this past season, but that number jumps to $6,000 a game next year and $8,000 the year after that.

McNally joked that even the business students in the audience should look into becoming referees.

Club Vice President Lucas Poelker, a Wharton freshman, said he believes that there are great business opportunities in the world of sports.

"We're trying to let students see the possible career paths involving sports and business," he said.

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