banner
Ryan Craig

NCAA refs work too hard

Posted March 10, 2011

I once asked a friend of mine, that happens to be a basketball official at the highest level of his profession, about officiating the final minutes of a big game.

“Why is it that refs swallow their whistles at the end of games?” I inquired. “Because you all know you do.”

After we both had a good laugh about it, he gave an honest answer.

He said it’s not that officials choose not to call fouls that they see; it’s that they have to be surer they are seeing a foul before they call it.

A professional, he said, won’t simply ignore fouls, but they will become more conservative when it comes to whistling a player’s action that might fall into the dreaded grey area.

Unfortunately for the officials in Wednesday afternoon’s St. John’s vs. Rutgers game, the final 1.7 seconds of the contest had nothing to do with grey area.

It’s not the no-call on the likely blocking foul before the potential go-ahead layup for the Scarlet Knights or the unseen cross-body block thrown by the Johnnies on the game’s final inbounds play that is disappointing.

I can even live with the non-call of the technical foul for the Red Storm player throwing the ball into the stands while the game was still going on, although Rick Pitino and his male cheerleader friend might have an issue with it.

And traveling? That hasn’t been called consistently for years, so why should be expect that to change on a random Wednesday in March of 2011.

But sideline out of bounds is basic – it’s black and white, or in this case, blue and hardwood. There is no judgment needed or context to be considered.

Half of a player’s foot was out of bounds with almost two seconds left of Wednesday’s Big East second round game, and nobody with a striped shirt on seemed to notice.

We’re not talking about a toddler in a ballet slipper either - this was the biggest guy on a court full of big guys galloping out of bounds wearing a size 17.

It’s a small example of a much larger issue.

College officials simply call too many games.

This same official friend of mine talked about the six-city-in-seven-nights stints the zebras pull off on a regular basis and admitted that by the end of the binge the block/charge call is little more than a guess at best.

Even the most focused mind starts to wander after calling that many games in such a short amount of time.

You can’t blame the refs – if someone is going to pay them, and they are willing to put in the hours, why not make a few extra bucks on the side of whatever the ACC or SEC might be paying you?

It’s hard to blame a hard worker for working hard and that’s why you need to take the decision out of that person’s hands.

Put a maximum number on the amount of games an official can call in college basketball’s regular season and you won’t have burned out referees taking the final seconds of important tournament games off.

The officials absolutely botched the final 1.7 seconds of the Red Storm’s win over Rutgers Wednesday and there’s nothing that can be done to change that. At the very least, though, the NCAA can turn the situation into a positive.

Hopefully, college basketball’s governing body passes legislation to ensure that such egregious calls are far less likely to happen.

It’s about time the game’s officials had the whistle blown on them.

Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego vs. Miami

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida vs. Georgia

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Notre Dame vs. Navy

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh

    Today at 12:00 pm on 620am

  • Big Ten: Maryland at Penn State

    Today at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Syracuse

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes vs Arizona Coyotes

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
Final
IND 89
MEM 97
Final
CHI 108
CLE 114
Final
MIL 93
PHI 81
Final
SAC 103
POR 94
Final
PHO 94
SAN 89
Final
LAL 111
LAC 118
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
MEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIA
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DEN
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
PHO
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAL
 
Final
TULA 14
CIN 38
Final
MEM 40
TULSA 20
11:30am Today
ARMY
AFA
12:00pm Today
PITT
DUKE
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
ECU
12:00pm Today
PSU
MD
12:00pm Today
IOWA
NW
12:00pm Today
ISU
OKLA
12:00pm Today
FIU
RICE
12:00pm Today
UCONN
UCF
12:00pm Today
TEXAM
LAMON
12:00pm Today
RUTG
WISC
12:30pm Today
VT
BC
12:30pm Today
MIAMI
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
CMICH
1:00pm Today
COL
WASH
2:30pm Today
UMO
WMICH
3:00pm Today
SYR
NCSU
3:00pm Today
LATU
WKENT
3:30pm Today
MTST
BYU
3:30pm Today
UGA
UF
3:30pm Today
APPST
GASTATE
3:30pm Today
MICH
IND
3:30pm Today
NEB
PURD
3:30pm Today
WVU
TCU
3:30pm Today
GT
UVA
4:00pm Today
SFLA
HOU
4:00pm Today
BAY
KU
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
KENT
4:00pm Today
NMST
TXST
4:30pm Today
WASU
USC
5:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
ARKST
5:00pm Tonight
LALAF
SALABAMA
5:30pm Tonight
UNLV
NMU
7:00pm Tonight
MISS
AUB
7:00pm Tonight
SJST
COLST
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
ODU
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
7:15pm Tonight
MSST
ARK
7:30pm Tonight
OREG
STAN
7:30pm Tonight
SCAR
TENN
7:30pm Tonight
TTU
TEX
8:00pm Tonight
OSU
ILL
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ND
8:00pm Tonight
KST
OKST
8:00pm Tonight
UTEP
SMISS
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
ARZ
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
SDST
10:45pm Tonight
FRES
WYO
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UTST
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
UTAH
Final
CLB 1
TOR 4
Final
DET 5
LOS 2
Final
DAL 1
ANA 2
Final
CAL 4
NAS 3
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLA
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
WAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
WIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
COL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
DAL
 
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
NYI
 
4:00pm Today
BCOOK
NCCU