A shot of Jeff Orr (man on the left) and Oklahoma State Guard Marcus Smart during Saturday’s altercation in Lubbock. Texas Tech won the game 65-61. (photo via KJRH-TV)
Lately, a trend in sports seems to be to criticize referees for anything and everything. Sometimes while watching a game either on television or in person, or even when playing I will hear someone say, “That ref doesn’t like us.”
I’m sorry, what?
The odds are that the officials do not have any sort of personal relation or affiliation with any school or person in their respective conference at any level of play, be it high school or college. For instance, the son of legendary coach formerly at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith, is a Division 1 referee. However, he is not allowed to officiate in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The fact of the matter is that these officials go through countless hours of rules and mechanics training. They know what can and cannot be done, and have their primary assignments while on the field or court. As an example, the lead in 3-person mechanics for basketball has primary on contact below the shoulders, the trail has above the shoulders and the center has first dibs on the back side of the play.
To demonstrate another way fans can be ejected, we just need to rewind to last night, February 8th. I was in Lubbock, Texas for the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech Men’s Basketball game in which OSU Guard Marcus Smart shoved TTU fan Jeff Orr in an altercation with only a few seconds remaining. The long-term effects of this incident are yet to be seen, but Orr will not be attending any of the remaining Red Raider Basketball games and Smart has been suspended for the next 3 games at Texas, home against Oklahoma and at Baylor. Smart will return against Texas Tech at home on Feb. 22. (Click here for Texas Tech University’s statement regarding the altercation)
If this trend of overly-rowdy fans doesn’t stop, it could get out of control.
LeBron James reacts to an offensive foul called against him during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.
While officiating a High School Varsity Basketball Tournament in Agra, Okla. in early December, my partner and I made an observation. Many players attempted the NBA-popularized “Euro Step,” but unsuccessfully did so and we would in turn, call them for a traveling violation. My partner referred to it as “the Thunder Effect.”
He continued to talk about how he noticed the style of play in Oklahoma, especially in the boys game, change to more resemble the NBA after the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in time for the 2008-09 season. The NBA has fallen under scrutiny for several things, including the large amount of travels that go uncalled. I once watched a playoff game where former Celtics Forward Kevin Garnett took 4 steps and dunked after picking up his dribble. No whistle.
Now, in High School Basketball, more and more players are even mimicking NBA star egos. Remember Game 6 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Miami Heat at the Indiana Pacers? LeBron James was called for an offensive foul and rightfully so. He proceeded to sprint the length of the basketball court in protest, on national television. I personally wish James would accept the fact that he is currently the best basketball player in the world and cut out the whining and crying. (Click here for a story on Game 6)
Many current high school players are even behaving in similar manners. In the same game I mentioned earlier, I called an offensive foul. The player who drew the foul got up and bodied up to the offensive player, leaving me no choice but to issue a technical foul.
There are similar cases in other sports such as football and baseball. This serves as a sports example of the trickle-down effect.