Angry White Dude: Never Expect the Best
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I've been officiating sports at every level since 1980.
Yep, I'm that old!
When I say every level, I mean every level. Youth sports -- the worst thanks to the parents! -- middle school, high school, college, and professional
To hang around this long, I certainly must know a thing or two about the in's and out's of the business. And trust me, it is big business!
On sports talk radio this morning, the topic of how bad the officiating was over the weekend during the NCAA tournament kept coming up.
I got a good look at several calls that were so bad, I'm sure a crew will get suspended next season.
The double-whammy against Northwestern, where the blown goaltending call and the resultant technical foul against their coach for arguing it -- a key swing that might have changed the outcome -- was embarrassing.
Technical fouls on coaches normally come after an official has blown a call. The official has to show the coach that he's in charge. Never mind that the ref or one of his partners has just screwed the coach's team.
Little man syndrome kicks in. The coach and his team are punished because of someone's poor judgment.
The politics and money exchange that goes on in the world of officiating are mind boggling.
Take this example:
- Certain people are in charge of assigning the games to be officiated.
- Every year they hold camps, and if you want to work the games, you have to go to the camps.
- You pay your own way there and back.
- Plus, you drop off a nice little check to the assignor of $400 or so.
There are around 150 officials at every camp, and the assignor might have 4-5 camps around the country.
You do the math. It's big money for the assignor. Please don't ever think that it's not.
Every year, I get an e mail from an assignor that clearly states:
|If you don't work 3-5 pre-season games for free, you will not be able to work any post-season games ...|
I'll bet most coaches dont know that. If you were a coach, wouldn't you want the best people officiating your game?
Sure you would, but when the tourney rolls around, in many cases, the best officials are not working your tournament games and you're one call away from being sent home and maybe losing your job.
I actually worked a college game this season with a 19- and 20-year-old on my crew. That's right, college-age kids working college basketball games! Wow!
Where you work, I'm sure there's someone who does not belong there. Somebody's kid, somebody's college buddy, someone's relative. They come to work and go home.
There are more qualified people, but they don't get a shot.
Perhaps you have been passed over because of one of these people. Chances are you have, and you know it. Don't kid yourself into thinking that skin color, race and sex are not a factor, either.
Is it fair? Of course not, but this is 2017 and life is still not fair.
Bottom line is this:
- In sports, you seldom get the best officials working the games.
- Whoever pays the fees, works for free, and kisses the most ass just might be working your team's next game.
Think I'm wrong? Well, then, how else do you explain the terrible officiating over this past weekend?
Perhaps, just maybe, the best officials are home on the couch! Or at least, somewhere else.