Discussion

Thoughts on officiating, coaches and UCLA

Updated: December 10, 2009, 6:53 PM ET
By Jay Bilas
Let me say this up front: I am a supporter of college basketball referees. I am a supporter because they have an incredibly difficult job and they largely do it very well. I understand there are going to be errors and missed calls, and I am OK with that. Look, it is early for the refs, too. There is a human element to the game that we all must accept. I believe that the officials' first priority is to get it right, and I have countless anecdotal examples of that to confirm my belief. I do not believe that the integrity of officials should ever be questioned without a solid factual basis.

However, I do not accept that one cannot question the accuracy of a call or the appropriateness of a ref's behavior. And to simply state that "players make mistakes, too" in response to reasonable criticism misses the mark. The officials are paid professionals in a game played by amateurs, and nobody is playing defense on them. They should get it right the vast majority of the time, and it is perfectly acceptable to question whether a call is correct.

Here is one thing that would be really helpful to fans and the game: One member of the officiating crew should be available after every game to answer questions from a pool reporter. The upside of educating the public about rules and the calls made would outweigh the downside of the officials' authority being questioned on a daily basis. Actually, I believe that more public statements from officials would deepen the respect and understanding of the public. Almost every time an official explains something to me privately, I learn something -- and every time I speak to an official privately, my respect for his job grows.

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