Coaches Cry Foul About Inconsistent Officiating
What’s the one thing NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches wish for? According to a national study released by the Sports Officiating Research Institute, the vast majority of say they want to see improvement in consistent officiating.
The study’s results were based on responses collected from 138 NCAA school representatives in charge of evaluating the performance of men’s basketball officials. Dr. Jimmie Flores, founder of the Sports Officiating Research Institute, said that the nationwide sample included the opinions of representatives from 40% of Division I schools and 97% of NCAA conferences.
Flores said coaches commented on the inconsistent referee calls made on off-the-ball rough play, protecting the shooter, blocking/charging, freedom of movement, and home-crowd and team records influencing referee decisions.
Flores, who is a Division I men’s basketball referee and graduate of the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies, said coaches submitted the following descriptions to identify different types of officiating inconsistencies:
Different rule enforcement from the same referee: “I think there are times when the first half is called one way, and the second half is called completely differently,” one coach wrote. “I think that makes it very difficult for both players and coaches to adjust, and I think the flow of a game suffers because of it.”
End-of-game calls: What is a foul five minutes into the game is still a foul in the last five minutes of a game. Period!”
A crew’s differing opinions: One participant in the study said, it is “very frustrating to see different individuals in a crew establish tight or loose interpretation of rules throughout a single game . . . [It is] hard to adapt to each official’s interpretation within one game.”
The physically unfit: Another coach pointed out, “many of the officials have fitness and mobility that is satisfactory to excellent. But if one person in a three-person crew is unsatisfactory, then it makes the entire crew unsatisfactory.”
Refereeing the stars: “It should not matter who is wearing what jersey and what names are on the front of the jersey,” one coach observed.
Tight or loose game: Coaches also urged officials to avoid the philosophy of calling a “tight” or “loose” game. Instead, coaches said they want officials to call the game according to the NCAA’s points of emphasis and rules. Doing so, some coaches said, would empower coaches and players to make appropriate adjustments.
The Sports Officiating Research Institute is dedicated to the study of sports officiating. Located in San Antonio, TX, the organization focuses on the systematic collection and analysis of data to improve the quality and performance of officials representing a variety of sports. More findings, and the entire NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Coach Survey, was prepared in collaboration with University of Phoenix faculty members Dr. Ruby A. Rouse, Dr. Rich S. Schuttler, and Dr. Judith B. Kaplan.