Friday, February 26, 2010

Tournament Basketball

One of my pet peeves is the officiating we see during tournament time. Whether it is hockey during the Stanley Cup, the NBA playoffs, or March Madness, it is madening to me to see how the officiating changes during a tournament.

I was watching a high school girls tournament basketball game this week and the change in the way the game is officated was obvious. Fouls which were called during the 20 game regular season were ignored, bumping and physical play were more prevalent, and the players were allowed to "play".

It is understood that this type of officiating takes place at all levels. Referees don't want to "take the game out of the hands of the players", and so, referees will be hestitant to call a foul, thinking that they don't want to be accused of deciding an outcome of a contest or changing a game.

Let's say, for the sake of arguement, that this is true. Let the players play, don't call as many fouls, swallow the whistle, so that the players decide the outcome in the tournament. Then what are we to make of the other 20 games the players have played in the regular season? Are not these games important, escpecially when it comes to deciding league championships and determining seeding in the tournament? Shouldn't the same standards apply in officiating then as now? Why not let the players play during the regular season? Don't take the game of their hands and allow them to decide the outcome in the regular season as well as the tournament?

You see, there is the rub. Officiating plays a part in EVERY GAME. It always has and always will. So why not call the game in the same way in the regular season AND in the tournament? The game is the same, the rules are the same, the players are USED to playing a certain way and for the game to be called a certain way during the regular season. Shouldn't they expect the same for the tournament? I maintain that IT IS UNFAIR FOR THE PLAYERS to have games officiated differently.

My proposal? Be consistant. Call the game the same way both in the regular season AND during the tournament. It is the same game, same rules, shouldn't they be applied equally? Isn't that what is expected of an official?

Just be consistant. The refs have a difficult job as it is, why not allow them to call the game the same way throughout the regular season and post season? In the end, that would be best for the officials, coaches, fans, and most of all, the players.

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