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oldnavy
02-21-2014, 10:05 AM
I don't know if there is enough interest in this topic, but it is something that has bothered me all season, and I mentioned it in the post-game thread.

Officiating in general to me has been surpassed by the talent of the players.

What I mean is that I get the sense that the refs are usually a step behind the level of play on the court. Over the past 25 years or so, I believe that the quality and parity of college basketball has gone up. There have always been talented players and teams, legends in fact, but I do believe that there are more talented players overall in the sport than 25 years or so ago. Credit the AAU movement or just the popularity of the game??

The problem I see is that officiating hasn't improved with the level of play. I see horrendous calls and no-calls in just about every game. Maybe this has been the case for as long as the game has been played, but it just seems worse to me now. It could just be that more basketball is being seen with the expanded coverage?? or maybe the game is being played faster, by bigger and quicker players... and refs can't keep up?? I am not sure.

I mentioned that I have not enjoyed watching games as much this year than in any year I can remember. I lay that solely at the feet of the officials and how games are being called, not the talent on the court. No flow with whistles every 20-30 seconds, phantom calls that are clearly not fouls, fouls that are clearly fouls that are not called, monitor reviews, hand checking that has no impact on the play being called while bodies fly under the basket and are not called, 40+ FT's a game, 2 and 1/2 hour games... I could go on and on...

I may just be getting old, well there is no doubt that I am getting old...

But, I would be interested to hear what others on this board think about this.

Should the NCAA think about going to full-time paid refs with off season training like some of the pro leagues to improve the quality of officials?

Matches
02-21-2014, 10:23 AM
I agree with your observations, and I wish I had a solution, but I do not - I think the problem goes well beyond officiating.

I don't really agree that the players are better than ever. I think it's the opposite - early entry has significantly deteriorated the quality of play at the college level. There may be more parity than there was 20+ years ago but IMO that's not because the mediocre programs have improved - the elite programs have been brought down closer to the pack. So part of why you're seeing choppy play is because the players just aren't as good.

Coaches also have much less job security than they did in the past. This leads to more micromanaging on their part - more/ quicker timeouts, more substitutions, and a more restrictive style of play designed to make up for a lack of talent. This means more "physical" play (which = more fouls), and longer, more deliberate possessions that can be tough to watch.

The reffing is also, across the board, pretty lousy. It's a crapshoot, even within an individual game, as to what is or isn't a foul.

These things are interrelated in some ways and independent in others. They are combining to create an inferior product, one I have trouble watching unless I've got a strong rooting interest.

OldPhiKap
02-21-2014, 10:45 AM
I think the current game has better athletes, but worse fundamentals. So everyone is bigger, stronger, faster, but not necessarily playing both sides of the ball as soundly as they did in the past. Hence, more fouls (or at least more random contact -- the number of fouls called has more to do with they style the refs are allowing or not allowing I guess).

Not sure if the refs are any better or worse than they were in the day. Lenny Wirtz, Teddy Valentine and Dick Paparo all sucked yet were considered the top-shelf guys by the league.

MChambers
02-21-2014, 11:09 AM
I think the current game has better athletes, but worse fundamentals. So everyone is bigger, stronger, faster, but not necessarily playing both sides of the ball as soundly as they did in the past. Hence, more fouls (or at least more random contact -- the number of fouls called has more to do with they style the refs are allowing or not allowing I guess).

Not sure if the refs are any better or worse than they were in the day. Lenny Wirtz, Teddy Valentine and Dick Paparo all sucked yet were considered the top-shelf guys by the league.
Ever since I coached and refereed recreational soccer games involving middle school kids, I've learned that reffing is just darned hard. I try not to whine about the officiating and instead realize that the refs, like the players, are simply human beings doing the best they can.

Other than Hank Nichols, I can't remember a ref who was consistently good. I think you just need to accept flawed officiating as part of the game, as it is in baseball and other sports.

brevity
02-21-2014, 12:12 PM
I've watched a handful of ACC games this season, most involving Duke, where a play pops up that demands official review. The referees take their time at the scorer's table and use multiple angles to replay the action, and still have a hard time. This tells me two things:

1. Real game situations are like a final exam for these guys every night. That can't be easy.
2. The ACC -- and all of college basketball for that matter -- needs to spend some money and give the referees the technology they need to get their calls right. Larger HD screens and noise-cancelling headphones should be made available.

The out-of-bounds pass late in the BC-Syracuse game is a prime example. From what I could tell, the referees were unsatisfied with the standard definition ACC Network picture and went to the high definition ESPN picture. Why should a standard definition picture ever be their default? And why are they looking at tiny screens? I'm not saying they need to leave the arena and make their reviews in a dark room or anything, but they should have better equipment ready at the scorer's table to get the job done. Putting myself in their place, I'd be squinting and sticking my fingers in my ears, wondering why it has to be this way.

As for this thread's general question about referees falling behind the action. I wonder about the barriers to entry into the profession. I know it doesn't pay well, and chances aren't great that it will pay much better, but there must be a solid supply of former athletes (not just basketball players, and not just men) that might still be interested.

oldnavy
02-21-2014, 12:41 PM
I think the current game has better athletes, but worse fundamentals. So everyone is bigger, stronger, faster, but not necessarily playing both sides of the ball as soundly as they did in the past. Hence, more fouls (or at least more random contact -- the number of fouls called has more to do with they style the refs are allowing or not allowing I guess).

Not sure if the refs are any better or worse than they were in the day. Lenny Wirtz, Teddy Valentine and Dick Paparo all sucked yet were considered the top-shelf guys by the league.

Do you think that going with full-time officials would help or be worth the effort?

I hate to see the game that I grew up loving change to the point where I really do not enjoy watching it as much.

It could very well be the early departure of players, but that actually has been going on now for a few decades...

I think the short answer would be "let them play"... only call fouls that actually give the offender a clear advantage. All too often I see fouls being called where there is no impact on the play whatsoever. The phantom calls are the most frustrating, but even the ones where there is some contact, but it doesn't really impact the play should be "play on"... let them go... there are plenty of "real" fouls to call..

Problem is... consistency. What are fouls on one end are not on the other, or what is let go in the first half is called in the second half....

weezie
02-21-2014, 12:43 PM
The ACC -- and all of college basketball for that matter -- needs to spend some money and give the referees the technology they need to get their calls right. Larger HD screens and noise-cancelling headphones should be made available.


Spot on brev. What about another "ref in the sky" type thing with an overhead angle and for in bounds stuff, too?
I wonder if basketball is heading to a challenge option too.

HaveFunExpectToWin
02-21-2014, 12:49 PM
2. The ACC -- and all of college basketball for that matter -- needs to spend some money and give the referees the technology they need to get their calls right. Larger HD screens and noise-cancelling headphones should be made available.

I wonder if the SportVU player tracking system can track fouls and other situations that could lead to a statistical analysis of refereeing.

I am not sure anything could be developed in the near future, but long term, I can see refs being completely replaced by sensors and cameras that give immediate and accurate feedback on the game. Then again in the long term we'll all be watching laserball games instead.

jv001
02-21-2014, 01:00 PM
When I was younger, I blamed every Duke loss on the refs. Football and basketball included. Then I mellowed a little and quit blaming the refs. But this year, I find myself scratching my head on some of the calls. Touches are called but takedowns are not called. One player will use his arm to push off a defender and it's called, but the same thing will happen a few minutes later and it's not called. I agree refs have a difficult job because of bigger faster more athletic players. Plus the game is faster(exclude Wisconsin). I think if the rules committee would make a change in the carrying/palming the ball rule it would clear up some of the physical play. When a player is allowed to make an illegal cross-over move against good defenders, it put's a lot of pressure on the defender. Defensive players then began to get physical with the ball handler. I remember when Duke played Villanova a few years ago they man handled our guards and Duke couldn't run our offense. This became the norm in college basketball until the NCAA decided to clean up play. Well it's now a mess and like Navy said, it's hard to watch college basketball because the game is decided many times by the refs and not the players. I still like college basketball better than the NBA. GoDuke!

OldPhiKap
02-21-2014, 01:56 PM
Do you think that going with full-time officials would help or be worth the effort?

I hate to see the game that I grew up loving change to the point where I really do not enjoy watching it as much.

It could very well be the early departure of players, but that actually has been going on now for a few decades...

I think the short answer would be "let them play"... only call fouls that actually give the offender a clear advantage. All too often I see fouls being called where there is no impact on the play whatsoever. The phantom calls are the most frustrating, but even the ones where there is some contact, but it doesn't really impact the play should be "play on"... let them go... there are plenty of "real" fouls to call..

Problem is... consistency. What are fouls on one end are not on the other, or what is let go in the first half is called in the second half....

I wish I had an answer. You have certainly nailed the problem, I agree with each point you make above.

Not sure that full time refs make that much difference as far as consistency or whether they let the kids play or not.

I guess my half-brained solution is that there should be a set of objective criteria that the refs should be tested upon and rated. (Perhaps this already exists and I just don't know about it). The highest rated will be the most in demand and make the most money. The ones who are not can find other jobs. Let the free market and objectively-tested criteria bring the level of officiating up.

Or not.

FerryFor50
02-21-2014, 02:02 PM
Ever since I coached and refereed recreational soccer games involving middle school kids, I've learned that reffing is just darned hard. I try not to whine about the officiating and instead realize that the refs, like the players, are simply human beings doing the best they can.

Other than Hank Nichols, I can't remember a ref who was consistently good. I think you just need to accept flawed officiating as part of the game, as it is in baseball and other sports.

Reffing is hard. But on this level, with as much money on the line (sad, but true), you can't leave such a difficult profession to part timers. They need to pony up, hire full time refs, grade them like the nba does and spend money on better replay equipment.

They also need to start holding officials accountable for mistakes, such as the non-called tech in the Arizona St game when the player hung on the rim and did chin-ups with time still on the clock. Or on the TJ Warren continuation play.

oldnavy
02-21-2014, 03:58 PM
Reffing is hard. But on this level, with as much money on the line (sad, but true), you can't leave such a difficult profession to part timers. They need to pony up, hire full time refs, grade them like the nba does and spend money on better replay equipment.

They also need to start holding officials accountable for mistakes, such as the non-called tech in the Arizona St game when the player hung on the rim and did chin-ups with time still on the clock. Or on the TJ Warren continuation play.

I totally agree that officiating is hard... VERY HARD. My problem isn't really a personal one with any single ref, it is how they collectively are calling games.

With officiating I think the general rule should be less is better... I don't want to see a wrestling match, but I do feel that most games this year are over officiated.

One of my major beefs is with refs calling what they "think" they see. We can know that they "think" they see it and don't really see it, because with the benefit of replay, we see that it never happened... bad angles may be to blame.

For example, there was a play in CIS a while back where I believe Rodney Hood or Hairston went to the floor to save the ball from going out of bounds on the base line... the ref on the base line blew the whistle and said his foot was out of bounds when he touched the ball giving the ball to the other team... on replay the player's foot never touched the line, in fact it was several inches from it - clearly! The ref could not have seen the players foot out of bounds, because it never was out of bounds... he made an anticipatory call based on what he thought might happen... That is a call that should never have happened...

theAlaskanBear
02-21-2014, 05:30 PM
I think there are some important points being made in this thread. Players have gotten faster and stronger, and officiating has gotten more difficult, and officials face more pressure from every side of the game -- the players, the coaches, the fans...than they did before the era of high definition TV and replay, when it just wasn't possible to really evaluate the refereeing unless you were court-side.

Even if it is not possible to quantify whether reffing has gotten better or worse, we have the tools to make it better, and college basketball generates enough money to easily do so. Thus, any responsible basketball organization owes it to the future of the sport to improve the game where it is possible....officiating is the low-hanging fruit, the easiest to accomplish. The NCAA can't really control the AAU circuit, one-and-dones, or the overall skill of the players or the coaches, but they can easily improve officiating.

1) Game and travel limitations. In order to be at peak performance, refs need to be physically and mentally rested. The crazy travel demands and sheer amount of games these guys do as contract employees is detrimental to the game. Lets just use Karl Hess as an example. He refs almost 100 games a season all along the eastern half of the United States. To start this season, he refereed in 13 games in 13 days, in 12 different states...the shortest distances being a Philly-Newark-Philly stretch. During this time he also had a 4 game stretch where we went from Virginia to Arkansas to Florida to Ohio.
source: http://statsheet.com/mcb/referees/karl-hess

2) Physical fitness. Refereeing is about being in the right place, at the right time. You have to keep up with the players and should actively be seeking the best angles on the court in concert with your officiating team. I am not saying we need track stars, but better fitness should produce better results. One of the things that watching a lot of NBA makes clear, NBA referees are in better shape than college referees. I am not saying you fire a ref for failing to hit a certain time on a mile, but fitness results should be a part of the overall evaluation of refereeing.

3) Better use/investment in technology. I agree with the posters above...for reviews get rid of those dinky monitors, give refs a high quality picture, noise cancelling headphones. Better yet, refs should have noise cancelling headsets on the whole game, and should be mic'd up together. This would minimize miscommunication and hopefully reduce the influence of a crowd on momentum/home court calls. Each coach could have a button/buzzer that is sent to the headphones to call a time out. It would also shield officials from the abuse of coaches and whining by players.

4) I think to accomplish any of these things, referees will have to be salaried in order to reduce the incentive to ref as many games as possible. Contracts could get reviewed and renewed every 3-ish years. Maybe two years with a one year probation (or 3-1, 2-2, etc) notice if their performance isn't up to par. Now, the logical place this could happen is in the individual conferences (this would also reduce mileage once the conference season starts), but then of course you have issues such as will officials become biased to the conferences that employ them, biases due to familiarity of players and coaches, how are games between conferences handled, etc.

Overall though, I think referees love basketball and they want to be professional and excel at their jobs. Conferences or the NCAA should give them all the tools, support, and training they need. The money is there. Just need the will.

FerryFor50
02-21-2014, 05:46 PM
I think there are some important points being made in this thread. Players have gotten faster and stronger, and officiating has gotten more difficult, and officials face more pressure from every side of the game -- the players, the coaches, the fans...than they did before the era of high definition TV and replay, when it just wasn't possible to really evaluate the refereeing unless you were court-side.

Even if it is not possible to quantify whether reffing has gotten better or worse, we have the tools to make it better, and college basketball generates enough money to easily do so. Thus, any responsible basketball organization owes it to the future of the sport to improve the game where it is possible....officiating is the low-hanging fruit, the easiest to accomplish. The NCAA can't really control the AAU circuit, one-and-dones, or the overall skill of the players or the coaches, but they can easily improve officiating.

1) Game and travel limitations. In order to be at peak performance, refs need to be physically and mentally rested. The crazy travel demands and sheer amount of games these guys do as contract employees is detrimental to the game. Lets just use Karl Hess as an example. He refs almost 100 games a season all along the eastern half of the United States. To start this season, he refereed in 13 games in 13 days, in 12 different states...the shortest distances being a Philly-Newark-Philly stretch. During this time he also had a 4 game stretch where we went from Virginia to Arkansas to Florida to Ohio.
source: http://statsheet.com/mcb/referees/karl-hess

2) Physical fitness. Refereeing is about being in the right place, at the right time. You have to keep up with the players and should actively be seeking the best angles on the court in concert with your officiating team. I am not saying we need track stars, but better fitness should produce better results. One of the things that watching a lot of NBA makes clear, NBA referees are in better shape than college referees. I am not saying you fire a ref for failing to hit a certain time on a mile, but fitness results should be a part of the overall evaluation of refereeing.

3) Better use/investment in technology. I agree with the posters above...for reviews get rid of those dinky monitors, give refs a high quality picture, noise cancelling headphones. Better yet, refs should have noise cancelling headsets on the whole game, and should be mic'd up together. This would minimize miscommunication and hopefully reduce the influence of a crowd on momentum/home court calls. Each coach could have a button/buzzer that is sent to the headphones to call a time out. It would also shield officials from the abuse of coaches and whining by players.

4) I think to accomplish any of these things, referees will have to be salaried in order to reduce the incentive to ref as many games as possible. Contracts could get reviewed and renewed every 3-ish years. Maybe two years with a one year probation (or 3-1, 2-2, etc) notice if their performance isn't up to par. Now, the logical place this could happen is in the individual conferences (this would also reduce mileage once the conference season starts), but then of course you have issues such as will officials become biased to the conferences that employ them, biases due to familiarity of players and coaches, how are games between conferences handled, etc.

Overall though, I think referees love basketball and they want to be professional and excel at their jobs. Conferences or the NCAA should give them all the tools, support, and training they need. The money is there. Just need the will.

Great points.

I'd also add, do some research on the refs. Make sure the guy reffing the UNC game didn't graduate from UNC or grow up loving or hating UNC. I recall a minor controversy in the NFL where a guy who was supposed to officiate the Panthers-Saints game grew up a Saints fan. The league acted accordingly and reassigned him.

lotusland
02-21-2014, 05:59 PM
Just curious - who pays the officials the ACC or the NCAA?

brevity
02-21-2014, 06:06 PM
Just curious - who pays the officials the ACC or the NCAA?

Fats Thomas?

(Sorry. I am the last person who would accuse refs of corruption, but the joke was set up so nicely...)

SoCalDukeFan
02-21-2014, 06:22 PM
I have been thinking for some time that the game has just become very difficult or maybe impossible to officiate well, and it is distracting from the enjoyment of the games. Fans here seem after every Duke loss to blame the officials, and can point to several plays where in slow mo or something the refs were wrong. After many Duke wins, fans from the other team do the same thing.

I don't follow the NBA very much. Does anyone know if they have the same problem in the NBA?

One thing I think that is worth considering is taking away the 5 fouls and you are out. Bad calls against a star player would be less penal.

I know that its nice to try to get it right but I don't like the stoppage of play when they have to review and review and review tape.

More professional officials would help, I guess. However there are many plays when on slow motion review the commentators can not agree on the call. If you want to see a really badly officiated game, find the 2004 FF Duke-UConn disaster. I would hope the FFs have the best officials the NCAA can find, and they did a terrible job.

I am also not sure that allowing more contact is the answer. There will always be a fine line as to what is allowed and what is not. Maybe its much less contact and calling a foul on anything that is not incidental.

I hope someone comes up with the answer.

SoCal

crimsonandblue
02-21-2014, 10:31 PM
Discussion of how to improve officiating is important and there are some good suggestions here. But, the notion that somehow officials are worse today than, say, thirty years ago, is laughable. Officiating has been bad since the dawn of sports and will remain so until the end of time.

Imagine all the decisions you make in a month at work. Now, crush them into a fast-speed montage of two hours. It's a hard job performed by men who've made traveling around to sweaty gyms, running around with sweaty dudes, wearing a zebra suit, blowing a whistle, and making a slew of judgment calls and funny hand signals, their life's calling. I think we're doing well to have guys with eyes and legs.

oldnavy
02-22-2014, 06:45 AM
I have been thinking for some time that the game has just become very difficult or maybe impossible to officiate well, and it is distracting from the enjoyment of the games. Fans here seem after every Duke loss to blame the officials, and can point to several plays where in slow mo or something the refs were wrong. After many Duke wins, fans from the other team do the same thing.

I don't follow the NBA very much. Does anyone know if they have the same problem in the NBA?

One thing I think that is worth considering is taking away the 5 fouls and you are out. Bad calls against a star player would be less penal.

I know that its nice to try to get it right but I don't like the stoppage of play when they have to review and review and review tape.

More professional officials would help, I guess. However there are many plays when on slow motion review the commentators can not agree on the call. If you want to see a really badly officiated game, find the 2004 FF Duke-UConn disaster. I would hope the FFs have the best officials the NCAA can find, and they did a terrible job.

I am also not sure that allowing more contact is the answer. There will always be a fine line as to what is allowed and what is not. Maybe its much less contact and calling a foul on anything that is not incidental.

I hope someone comes up with the answer.

SoCal


I'm not suggesting that they should "allow" more contact. I am suggesting that they not over call the games. You cannot play this game without contact and if a game was played without contact it would be the most boring thing to watch on earth. Imagine for a moment that the players played to avoid contact, there would be no boxing out, no defense AT ALL, anyone could get a layup at anytime.. you get the picture, and I know that this isn't what you mean...

There are plenty of true, no kidding, have to be called fouls that occur in the game. By all means call those. I believe the problem has been in the attempt to "clean up" the game, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. It is like watching the government try to fix a small problem by passing sweeping legislation that has numerous unintended consequences.

Some have suggested and leagues have experimented with allowing 6 fouls or variations on that theme... I don't think that increasing the number of fouls a player is allow is the answer... the answer it to stop calling the bogus, inconsequential, often little to no contact, "fouls".

Perfect illustration of what I mean Jarbari's last foul in the 'Cuse game. There is no way on earth that should have taken him out of that game... talk about officials impacting the game in a negative way both for Duke specifically and for the beauty of that game in general (one of the best players in the country taken out of the best game of the year for that!). With the amount of contact that IS allowed in the paint, to call a charge in that situation was beyond ridiculous... I could say the same about his offensive foul called in the UNC game... another pivotal juncture in a game where a "play on" should have occurred, yet a ref decided to take center stage and make a call...

I only use these two plays as examples because I am more familiar with them. There are calls that go in Duke's favor that should not be calls as well... my frustration isn't really about Duke and calls, it's about the direction the game in general is heading.

I have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of folks a day in my job... often if the discussion or small talk allows, I will ask how they feel about officiating this year. To a person, everyone has said it is much worse than they can remember and that they do not like it. I don't really discuss individual calls or games. My last conversation was with an 79 year old, sweet lady, who happened to be wearing a UNC sweater. She said she was disgusted with how the games are being called as well.... she actually showed some passion when I mentioned it, which given her age and overall quite demeanor was very cute.

Point being, I have yet to find anyone who likes the way things are heading with officiating games...

gus
02-22-2014, 07:16 AM
I think a big problem is that fans often don't actually know the rules.

Refereeing is really, really hard (for reasons already cited). Add to that biased fans who don't actually know the rules* like they think they do, and it's easy to get the impression that refs suck. Who made the observation to the effect of "it's amazing how much better the officiating is when you don't care about the outcome?"


* I'm not putting myself above this: I'm definitely in this category

CoachJ10
02-22-2014, 08:00 AM
Interesting post.

2 observations.

1.) I find it difficult to understand people who say that the reffing in a game should be ignored or just accepted w/ immunity. There are 13 people on a court in a college basketball game (3 of whom are adults). Why their performance should be deemed to have no impact on the outcome just really makes no sense to me. I often wonder if it is people who have never actually played basketball who think that.

2.) Thinking outside of the box on this, but perhaps one of the complicating matters for basketball refs is the fact they have to run around and maneuver themselves constantly. Given that, can they truly be focused on the game the way someone who is stationary can? Maybe having the refs be more restrained in their movements will help. In a joking manner, I have claimed I have a better view on my couch with my HD TV in a lot of instances than a ref who is running around players. But there is some truth to that.

All we want is consistency. Every game will still have a bad call or two (we are humans after all)...but I think it is worth trying to find ways to make the game go back to being more about the players than the refs.

jv001
02-22-2014, 08:40 AM
All I know is that I don't want to go the YMCA gym games where players call fouls on themselves. You know the honor system. It might be ok until we played the tarheels, then we'd be in trouble. Duke fouls= 24, tarheel fouls=0, :cool: GoDuke!

sagegrouse
02-22-2014, 08:45 AM
Interesting post.


All we want is consistency. Every game will still have a bad call or two (we are humans after all)...but I think it is worth trying to find ways to make the game go back to being more about the players than the refs.

CoachJ10, last year Duke was called for 645 fouls and the opponents scored 486 points in 671 attempts. That was 13+ points per game.

Are you concerned that, by asking that fans concentrate on the players rather than the refs, you are trying to change human nature? After a close loss, of course people will talk about fouls called and not called. The rules are tough to enforce, such as the block-charge call and the difference between "incidental contact" and impeding a player. Moreover, it seems inevitable that losers will complain.

FerryFor50
02-22-2014, 10:19 AM
Interesting point about officials being out of position and constantly having to move.

One solution is not having 60-70 year old men with beer bellies officiating. Someone mentioned limiting it to guys who can actually move around.

Another would be, have more than 3 officials. Camp refs out on each baseline. Then have one on the court, never extending past half court.

rsvman
02-22-2014, 10:43 AM
Ferry for 50 just said what I wanted to say when I came on this thread, which is to think outside the box a little: Rather than have refs get into better shape, I'd say have MORE refs.

How about one on the baseline under the basket, one of the left wing, one on the right wing, one of the left wing of the other side of the court, and one on the right, and one on the other baseline, for a total of 6? If that seems like overkill, how about one on each baseline and two who would still run from the wing on one side of the court to the wing on the other side? That would be a total of 4, so not that much different from what we have now, except that two guys would be camped. The guys behind the baselines would never leave that baseline.

Rather than require refs to be in outstanding physical condition, we should require refs to have the following:

1) Outstanding eyesight. They should be tested prior to each season and if they can't see 20/15 with each eye and have perfect depth perception, they have to fix the problem or find another profession. Glasses/contacts would be allowed (this isn't fighter piloting in the Navy).

2) Excellent knowlege of the rule book. This should be tested by at a computerized testing center, with about a 200 question test, before each season begins. They should be able to answer at least 95% of the question correctly. The test would have verbal questions, diagram questions (example: move the X to where the player should inbound the ball after it goes off the opposing player at point Y), and, ideally, video questions. Show game play. Ask them to make the call. Use examples from actual games.

3) Good judgment and the ability to make quick and accurate decisions. This could be tested with standard psychological tests.

4) Lack of bias. It is hard for me to imagine that somebody would want to be a referee for a sport he/she didn't like. If they like the sport of basketball, they undoubtedly had a rooting interest in a team or teams at some point in time. Referees should be forced to acknowledge these biases, and they should recuse themselves from officiating in games that involve one of their favorite or hated teams.

gocanes0506
02-22-2014, 10:43 AM
I absolutely hate reviews in both Basketball and Football. As mentioned, they kill the game (flow and increasing the scrutiny of the refs). I would like to see a 4th ref in there that is a crew chief of the team on the sidelines. Their main job is to be the review ref. They review the play and quickly shows the refs on the floor the call that needs to be made. He/she can also help the refs improve between halves to watch for things he/she is able to see on the screen. It would allow some of these older refs who are quite experienced and are quality to still be good for the game. As they get older they become more and more out of the proper angle to make calls.

I believe this would cut out more than 30 seconds on reviews. The review ref would seen the angles before the refs before the refs on the floor get done discussing that a review needs to happen. He/she may be able to buzz in to quickly change a call if needed. To start we may only see this in top 6-8 conferences and the tourney as it will be expensive and personnel may be limited. It is needed though.

TruBlu
02-22-2014, 11:25 AM
4) Lack of bias. It is hard for me to imagine that somebody would want to be a referee for a sport he/she didn't like. If they like the sport of basketball, they undoubtedly had a rooting interest in a team or teams at some point in time. Referees should be forced to acknowledge these biases, and they should recuse themselves from officiating in games that involve one of their favorite or hated teams.

Can we go back and vacate any wins by the tarheels in games officiated by Lenny Wertz?

Jarhead
02-22-2014, 11:50 AM
Can we go back and vacate any wins by the tarheels in games officiated by Lenny Wertz?

For those of us arguing that officiating has gotten worse over the years, Lenny Wertz is proof positive that it hasn't. Back in that day Lenny was simply among the worst. I just don't see any of today's refs in that same category. League leaders keep an educated eye on the refs, and do it better than in the past. I wouldn't argue against more pay and better working conditions for them, though.

Acymetric
02-22-2014, 11:58 AM
For those of us arguing that officiating has gotten worse over the years, Lenny Wertz is proof positive that it hasn't. Back in that day Lenny was simply among the worst. I just don't see any of today's refs in that same category. League leaders keep an educated eye on the refs, and do it better than in the past. I wouldn't argue against more pay and better working conditions for them, though.

I think refs (at least for major conferences) are paid fairly well, aren't they?

CoachJ10
02-22-2014, 02:03 PM
CoachJ10, last year Duke was called for 645 fouls and the opponents scored 486 points in 671 attempts. That was 13+ points per game.

Are you concerned that, by asking that fans concentrate on the players rather than the refs, you are trying to change human nature? After a close loss, of course people will talk about fouls called and not called. The rules are tough to enforce, such as the block-charge call and the difference between "incidental contact" and impeding a player. Moreover, it seems inevitable that losers will complain.

I think you misunderstood the point...I'd rather have the outcomes of the games be decided more by the players than the refs. As the point of this thread is pointing out...the refs have seemingly had more impact on the games than a lot of us fans would like. If there are steps to improve the quality of officiating and perhaps how games are officiated, as fans, we'd all be a lot happier for that. I presume you would as well.

And yes....losers will always find something to complain about. That is indeed human nature. Don't think anyone is debating that.

Indoor66
02-22-2014, 03:28 PM
Personally, I would do away with ALL video reviews. Make the call on the court and play on. As to timing issues, OK to check during the last two minutes. Otherwise, correct as best possible and play on. Let us accept human error as part of the game. It will all balance out over a season.

bluebeagle
02-22-2014, 04:55 PM
The game really has gotten almost unbearable to watch. Late in the UNC game when UNC would bring the ball down court I found myself not wondering if they would score or not but who would the foul be called on. I thought someone had to gain an advantage for it to be a foul. You could make an argument that if a player scores even if someone hacks his arm the defense really didn't gain an advantage. Maybe if someone shoots and gets fouled he should get three shots if he misses the shot and no shots if he makes it.

Ultrarunner
02-22-2014, 06:04 PM
Lot of great points on the thread and I'll try to avoid repeating them too much.

I have two problems with the officiating.

First, the officiating. The contact that is taking place inside the key today is brutal. I watched the '92 Duke/UNC game from the ACC Vault last year (after the Miami game) and one of my daughters commented on how little contact there was. It was still legal to block out and to fight for position but the excesses that we see in today's game would probably have drawn a whole lot more whistles. A lot of fighting for position was by using leverage - low hips, power from the legs - instead of forearm shivers into the spine of the offensive player. In the same vein, the defenders played defense into the body of the player, not through the body. Kendall Marshall ended up with a broken wrist from a block attempt through his body - clearly a player control foul worthy of a flagrant but a play that is considered acceptable- just a hard foul - by today's standards. The average game today is littered with players hitting the court.

The second point that bothers me in officiating is the ability of the offensive player to create the contact that leads to a foul. Dropping a shoulder like Dez Wells and plowing into people should be, IMNSHO, a charge. 'Creating space' with a forearm as Paige did Thursday is sometimes called but so inconsistently that offensive players almost appeared shocked that clubbing someone might be a foul.

In both complaints, I am assuming that the calls will be made consistently for/against each team. Not necessarily so, I know. Halfway through Thursday game, I was starting to wonder what the record was for offensive fouls (charges) because we had to be getting close. The kids had a choice of penetrating and getting called for a charge or spiked into the floor (no call). I was annoyed.

sporthenry
02-22-2014, 08:12 PM
1.) I find it difficult to understand people who say that the reffing in a game should be ignored or just accepted w/ immunity. There are 13 people on a court in a college basketball game (3 of whom are adults). Why their performance should be deemed to have no impact on the outcome just really makes no sense to me. I often wonder if it is people who have never actually played basketball who think that.


In light of what just happened the past two games, I don't know how people can't acknowledge this. For some reason, people just can't acknowledge that the refs have an impact on a game. Perhaps not as huge as the players but still an impact.

I agree with people saying that guys are bigger and just too much contact occurs. But the reffing is completely arbitrary at this point. Block/charges are out of control. Jabari's 3 point play was nearly identical to Hood's charge call which wasn't nearly as bad as Hood's charge against UNC. One of Duke's layups down low, you saw a Cuse's D guy come down. Yet, their big men got tons of relatively phantom calls.

kmspeaks
02-22-2014, 09:23 PM
Some fantastic thoughts in this thread. My dad (who is an NCAA baseball umpire) and I were actually having a conversation about this recently. I don't have hard #'s to back this up but I feel like college basketball has some of the worst officiating of the major sports. When I watch football or baseball and there's a play that looks close, it feels like the replay vindicates the official an overwhelming majority of the time, not so in basketball. Admittedly I don't watch the NBA at all so maybe basketball is just tougher than football or baseball?

Interestingly enough the latest issue of Referee magazine explores some of these issues so I want to share some relevant quotes. The article was a great read.



As for this thread's general question about referees falling behind the action. I wonder about the barriers to entry into the profession. I know it doesn't pay well, and chances aren't great that it will pay much better, but there must be a solid supply of former athletes (not just basketball players, and not just men) that might still be interested.

"But now, with the money up to $3,000-plus a game for the top six or seven conferences"
I don't think pay is a barrier to entry for the games we're seeing on TV.



Rather than require refs to be in outstanding physical condition, we should require refs to have the following:

1) Outstanding eyesight. They should be tested prior to each season and if they can't see 20/15 with each eye and have perfect depth perception, they have to fix the problem or find another profession. Glasses/contacts would be allowed (this isn't fighter piloting in the Navy).

2) Excellent knowlege of the rule book. This should be tested by at a computerized testing center, with about a 200 question test, before each season begins. They should be able to answer at least 95% of the question correctly. The test would have verbal questions, diagram questions (example: move the X to where the player should inbound the ball after it goes off the opposing player at point Y), and, ideally, video questions. Show game play. Ask them to make the call. Use examples from actual games.

3) Good judgment and the ability to make quick and accurate decisions. This could be tested with standard psychological tests.

4) Lack of bias. It is hard for me to imagine that somebody would want to be a referee for a sport he/she didn't like. If they like the sport of basketball, they undoubtedly had a rooting interest in a team or teams at some point in time. Referees should be forced to acknowledge these biases, and they should recuse themselves from officiating in games that involve one of their favorite or hated teams.

You mean something like this? https://ncaambb.arbitersports.com/Groups/104883/Library/files/2013%20MEN'S%20BASKETBALL%20OFFICIATING%20EXAM%20C ombined(1).pdf

Full Time vs Part Time
While the refs are not officially full-time employees many choose to make it their full-time work. From the Referee article:
"Hall says the statement that some officials are working too much is misleading because it doesn't take into account all the circumstances of each individual situation."
"Hall argues it's easier for the full-time officials to put their full focus on the game that night. They don't have to worry about catching a flight to get home and go back to work early the next morning.....instead the full-time official gets a good night's sleep after the game in a local hotel, rises early the next morning to catch a flight, gets to the hotel by noon or earlier...takes a nap, works out and mentally prepares for the contest that evening."
He calls a full-time official one who works 90+ games in a season.

CDu
02-22-2014, 09:48 PM
If that means the occasional review, so be it. It's not like they go to review very often. I'd suggest they do it MORE often.

I'd even be okay with the introduction of a challenge system. If the coach REALLY feels it is a bad call and has timeouts at his disposal, formally challenge the call. The officials can review it, ensure they get it right, and if the coach is right, no timeout lost. If he's wrong, he's charged a timeout for the stoppage of play.

But there's a lot wrong with officiating today. They aren't calling probably close to 2/3 of the fouls that are being committed on every play. And then they are calling ticky-tack stuff at other times. There needs to be an overhaul of sorts.

jipops
02-22-2014, 11:20 PM
If that means the occasional review, so be it. It's not like they go to review very often. I'd suggest they do it MORE often.

I'd even be okay with the introduction of a challenge system. If the coach REALLY feels it is a bad call and has timeouts at his disposal, formally challenge the call. The officials can review it, ensure they get it right, and if the coach is right, no timeout lost. If he's wrong, he's charged a timeout for the stoppage of play.

But there's a lot wrong with officiating today. They aren't calling probably close to 2/3 of the fouls that are being committed on every play. And then they are calling ticky-tack stuff at other times. There needs to be an overhaul of sorts.

There was a lot of contact on Rodney's drive finishes where he took it from the high post. Though he converted on a lot of those it seemed the refs didn't call anything because the ball went in. But the contact was there. I thought a lot of the point was to actually call contact that impedes the offensive player.

FerryFor50
02-22-2014, 11:21 PM
There was a lot of contact on Rodney's drive finishes where he took it from the high post. Though he converted on a lot of those it seemed the refs didn't call anything because the ball went in. But the contact was there. I thought a lot of the point was to actually call contact that impedes the offensive player.

Agreed. I'd also add the times Parker tries to go up and gets smacked. Or the drives where Sheed gets bumped off balance.

sporthenry
02-23-2014, 02:04 AM
If that means the occasional review, so be it. It's not like they go to review very often. I'd suggest they do it MORE often.

I'd even be okay with the introduction of a challenge system. If the coach REALLY feels it is a bad call and has timeouts at his disposal, formally challenge the call. The officials can review it, ensure they get it right, and if the coach is right, no timeout lost. If he's wrong, he's charged a timeout for the stoppage of play.

But there's a lot wrong with officiating today. They aren't calling probably close to 2/3 of the fouls that are being committed on every play. And then they are calling ticky-tack stuff at other times. There needs to be an overhaul of sorts.

I'm just not sure where you start. As K has said, the game has gotten more physical. Some of that is because the players are bigger/faster/stronger. How do you fix that? The only solution I see is reducing players or making a bigger court. I think when guys like Thon Maker, Durant, LeBron become more normal, we'll see a push to a bigger court.

But the other problem is that guys initiate contact. I wasn't alive for the Pistol Pete era but watching videos, both the offense and defense tried to avoid contact. Now, it is the opposite. At some point, the defense realized that the refs wouldn't call everything. Then, the offense realized that running into people forced the refs to call things. Now, as you mention, half the calls are ticky tack and even the ones at the rim are usually the offensive guy jumping into a defensive guy.

But then how do you change it. They tried(are trying) to ramp up hand checks, etc. It is probably a little better but not much. And honestly, it was pretty terrible to watch. If you really want to change it, you are going to endure years of foul fests.

The other thing they changed was the block/charge. And while the charge was getting a bit out of hand, now we just give the offense more incentive to dribble into people. The one thing I actually liked was during one Duke game where they called double fouls on a block/charge. I think the NCAA should start doing this on any close call. It penalizes both sides equally for trying to create contact while still having blatant charge or block calls in the game.

That was one nice part of the UNC game was that they actually used a jump stop to avoid this contact and got open jump shots out of it. But as long as we award one side of the ball unfairly, they will try to exploit this advantage. Sadly, I've seen recent comments that the block/charge rule is working when in reality, it is making defense near impossible. They think the NCAA should mimic the NBA more when I think it should be the other way at least with respect to giving the offense every benefit of the doubt.