Thursday, April 3, 2014

Watching the "watchers"

The Final Four is this weekend.  UConn vs. Florida and UK vs. Wisconsin.  I have to say even though I have Florida in my bracket pool I would like to see Bo Ryan and his Wisconsin Badgers win it all.  I just like the way Bo knows basketball.  He runs a quality program and he's the example of a coach who has worked his way up to the big time.  However, one thing I'm not looking forward to this weekend is all the official's conferences at the scorer's table.  This NCAA tournament has made the refs eligible for Emmy Awards with as much camera time as they're getting in this games.  Every game seems to take forever once it gets in the final minutes because they have to review every play.  What is even crazier is the coaches can request an earlier play be reviewed. I'm sick of the so-called elbow rule that penalizes a player if his elbow inadvertantly goes above a certain plane on his body.  I do believe clearing out with the elbows or throwing flagrant bows should be whistled but these referee reunions at the scorer's table are out of hand.'s Eamonn Brennan touches on the topic on his blog.
"A bad call is a bad call whether it happens in the first minute or the 20th or the 40th. From a sheer mathematical perspective, every possession matters. So if expanded replay is necessary in the final minute, it's necessary throughout the game, isn't it? No wrong call should go unaddressed, should it?

I can already hear the wailing: But the game already stops too much! College basketball games are already two hours long! No one wants to watch referees look at video replays for 40 minutes! The human element! Loud noises!

I agree! Which is why college hoops and the NBA need to drop the pretense that the only way to handle video review is to force the three assigned game officials to stop the game, walk over to the scorer's table, wait for the LCD screen to load its pretty pictures and spend the next 10 minutes deciding whether they're really seeing what they're seeing. The sport already has a workaround for this; it allows officials to correct live-action missed calls during eventual timeouts and other naturally occurring game stoppages. But why do those three referees need to review the monitor themselves? Why can't a fourth official -- or a team of officials, even -- be assigned to specifically handle video reviews as the action takes place?

The officials watch the action. The video team watches the officials. Live. In real time. As quickly as the announcers can weigh in, and as quickly as you can hammer out that clever tweet slamming the zebras for another bad call, the video team can review said call and almost instantly signal whether there is significant evidence to overturn it. There is no reason to stop the game to do so."

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