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

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • NCAA: Gonzaga vs. UCLA

    Tonight at 7:00 on WRAL-TV

  • NCAA: Duke v. Utah

    Tonight at 9:40 on WRAL-TV

  • NCAA: Division II Championship: Indiana (Pa.) vs. Florida Southern

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: Gonzaga vs. UCLA

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NCAAT: NC State vs. Louisville

    Tonight at 7:37 on WRAL-FM

  • NCAAT: Oklahoma vs. Michigan St.

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NCAAT: Duke vs. Utah

    Tonight at 9:30 on Buzz Sports Radio

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CHA
7:37pm Tonight
LOU
NCSU
9:45pm Tonight
DUKE
UTAH
1:05pm Today
ATL
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
STL
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
DET
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
TEX
 
4:10pm Today
ANA
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
CLE
 
6:05pm Tonight
HOU
MIA
 
9:05pm Tonight
KAN
SEA
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
10:05pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DET
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
LAC
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
BOS
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
CLE
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
LAL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
GSW
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
MIN
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
SAC
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
DAL
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
UTA
10:00pm Tonight
PHO
POR
7:15pm Tonight
GONZ
UCLA
7:37pm Tonight
LOU
NCSU
9:45pm Tonight
DUKE
UTAH
10:00pm Tonight
NARZ
KSU
10:07pm Tonight
OKLA
MSU
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CAL
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
DAL