Tuesday, February 26, 2013
3-point shot: Accountability for officials
By Andy Katz
1. Officials work at their craft. They review game tape the next day. They want to get the calls right. They understand the pressure of their job. And they're not immune to making mistakes or admitting them privately to the coordinator of officials or the coaches. Officiating basketball is a very difficult assignment and one that the officials take seriously. But having them respond to a few questions or simply issuing a statement if there is a controversial play or plays -- which will happen in conference tournaments or the NCAA tournament -- is appropriate. Having to wait for the coordinator of officials to make a statement is not. Accountability is critical in all facets of the game. Officials are independent contractors and that's not going to change. But there needs to be more uniformity in how the game is called and how it is administered. John Adams is the NCAA coordinator of officials while the conference coordinators are in charge during the regular season. Everyone knows when a player or coach is suspended. If poor officiating results in a suspension or removal from a conference tournament then that should be made public, too. I've traveled on many a plane with officials. I've seen them in airports. These are men who love their jobs and deal with exhausting travel. But if something egregious occurs then there should be consequences. They know it. The rest of the sport should, too.
2. UCLA coach Ben Howland said Travis Wear is doubtful for Wednesday's game against Arizona State, but he's hopeful that he might be able to play against Arizona on Saturday (9 p.m. ESPN, College Gameday). The Bruins beat USC without Wear (right foot injury) Sunday night. Meanwhile, Howland said he continues to be impressed by the play of freshman Jordan Adams, who is averaging 15.1 points a game. "That's not easy to do for a freshman,'' said Howland. "He's not flashy, he's not a high-flying dunker. He's a great basketball player.'' Shabazz Muhammad, who received most of the attention this season, has had one hurdle after another this season (eligibility and injuries). His most recent situation was pink eye. Howland said Muhammad couldn't wear his contacts for a week until just before the USC game. But the biggest surprise as the Bruins get set for a huge weekend of games against the Arizona schools is the play of Larry Drew II. Drew has a chance to end his one year playing at UCLA by setting the single-season record for assists at UCLA. "That's pretty strong,'' said Howland.
3. The Utah State legislature made a genuine gesture Monday in recognizing the life-saving work of Utah State athletic trainer Mike Williams in saving Danny Berger's life when he collapsed during a Utah State practice Dec. 4. Williams was given the Heartsaver Hero Award by the American Heart Association after he used an AED and performed CPR to revive Berger. Berger later had a pacemaker inserted into his chest and continues to recover. The Utah legislature also passed a bill to purchase $300,000 worth of AEDs for municipal, county or state departments, 7-12 grade schools and higher education institutions. Berger was averaging 7.6 points a game prior to collapsing. He started 25 of 31 games last season. The word hero is used too loosely. Williams was a hero on Dec. 4 and deserves all of this recognition.