As we wind down to the end of many of the professional and collegiate sporting seasons, the microscope of the viewing public falls on the performance of every one on the field.
The biggest problem every year it seems, has nothing to do with the players. No, if the crowds have an issue, it is with one group of human beings, the referees.
Case in point, the college basketball national championship game between Duke and Wisconsin, two things came under sharp scrutiny. The first was how Wisconsin could put up more than 10 fouls in the span of 10 minutes, and the second was how touching the ball with your finger as it goes out of bounds does not result in a turnover. The team had racked up a staggering eight fouls, compared to one foul from Duke.
After several minutes review, the out-of-bounds ball was deemed to be Duke’s ball, but video evidence proved contrary to the call.
Since the final buzzer sounded with Duke being crowned champions, questions about the officiating have been the chatter among many of top analysts in the country. The general verdict is—simply put—what is wrong with these officials?
From both the view of an athlete and a spectator, I have been witness to some very bad calls. In those moments, I say to myself, like many do, “Well, it cant be that hard to call a game? Heck, I could do that easily.”
Last week, I asked that question again and did some research. For the NBA, the four-person crew that officiates every game starts their day at 8:30 a.m. All morning long and into the afternoon, they go over game film for both teams, studying the players and taking notes about their abilities and common fouls.
As the day progresses, they get to the arena around 5 p.m. and check every system. They will not leave the arena until 11:30 p.m. To add to that, one official is connected to the official review center in New Jersey where each and every call and play is viewed and reviewed to make sure that it is correct.
With so much time and so much work going into these games, the result ends up with very few NBA games being poorly officiated. After a recent game where one player received a technical foul, the NBA went back, looked at the call and reversed it in an official press release.
It’s not the case with every sport, but it should be. The people who are hired and are paid to do this as a career should take a little pride and do everything they can to keep it clean and fair. You cannot please everyone, but you can do better.
The flip side is that fans need to calm down. Yes, referees sometimes make bad calls, but yelling at them honestly doesn’t help. It is just a game, so don’t act like the world has ended.
Honestly, they are trying their hardest. If they fail, then they will be fired. Yes, improvements must happen, and they will. Bad officials will leave, and better ones will come in. Just enjoy the game for what it is, bad calls and all.
Charles can be found tweeting @cbowkstar_91 or buying canes and seeing eye dogs for his little league officials.