MERNAGH: REFS NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE & RETURN TO THE BACKGROUND
It happens in every game you watch I bet — a referee suddenly go on turbo blast, hopping into the fray (and the camera frame) to do a little Jig while making a block/charge call.
And then there’s the ref who positions himself at the oppsite side of the court during a timeout and — instead of doing what he should do and ignore a coach who’s venting his spleen — glare at the upset coach with Frank Martin-eyes (especially if the cameras are on and he knows some Syracuse grad will mention it).
And how about the refs that act as if they’re working the room, engaging in friendly banter with media and TV types, winking and preening for the television announcers?
The examples above have become common place in college basketball.
Officials are now a huge part of the show and it has to stop. They should be on the court to officiate, not to grandstand.
It used to be said you knew a game was well officiated when the refs weren’t mentioned.
We need to get back to that
And the inexcusable job done by Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton in the Rutgers/St. John’s game this afternoon is as good a starting point as any.
In a hotly contested Big East Tournament game they failed to make three calls that were quite evident down the stretch — but those are understandable if they stand alone (they still might make Mike Rice’s skin crawl, but as the classy RU coach said afterwards mistakes are going to happen). What’s not understandable is that after creating an absolutely chaotic scene with those no-calls, they folded and ran off the floor like scared little boys.
Just yesterday Rice’s player Gil Biruta was penalized after the referees went to video on a call they didn’t make on the floor during the action (even though two of them were looking right at it). Biruta fouled out because of that call made with video review. Today three officials looked on as Justin Brownlee stepped out of bounds, took two steps and flung the ball into the stands with TIME STILL ON THE CLOCK. Not one of the three blew a single whistle during any of the three actions by Brownlee. Because they stopped officiating with time on the clock, the clock operator correctly let the clock run because there was never a whistle signaling a stoppage of play. Since judgement calls such as traveling or out-of-bounds are not reviewable, the officials had nothing to review because there was not a timing error and the game was over.
Today, Biruta and all his teammates were penalized because the referees stopped doing their JOB before the game was over.
The NCAA’s head of officiating called it “unacceptable”, the BIG EAST commissioner released a statement admitting to “errors made”. None of that gives Rutgers the chance to finish the game. That would be all they want, the chance to finish the game.
A basketball game is 40 minutes long by rule.
There were only 39 minutes and 58 seconds played in the Scarlet Knights two-point loss to St. John’s. Rutgers was denied a final possession despite all the facts proving they deserved one.
That cannot happen.
But it did…and that’s a problem.
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