In Defense of Refs

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Defiance's picture

GR8 post Sonof47,  thanks for the perspective. Some great points in here for sure!

"Defiance in Silence" 

Shhhh

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

It's the lack of consequences for the calls that pisses me off.  Remember when the on field refs threw Denzel Ward out of a game in one of the most asinine Targeting Calls ever?  Then the replay official upheld it?  What consequences did they face for that level of incompetence?  None that I've seen.  How about the officials who took away the Browns TD in their final game against the Ravens last year?  6 points off the board in a game they lost by 4, yet did anything happen to them?  Or the officials from the NFC Championship Game, were they punished?  Until we start seeing them face consequences for incompetent calls, this stuff is only going to get worse as they have no incentive to do better.

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MichiBuck12's picture

Its my understanding that they do in fact face consequences, its just not public. Which is how it should be. At the college level, officials that make mistakes like that get assigned lower level games and thus lower pay. Their livlihood is quite literally tied to their job performance. In the NFL, good performance leads to working bigger games, playoff games, and higher pay as well. There is accountability, we just don't get to see it.

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

Why are they sheltered then?  The B1G announces player suspensions publicly, same with coach fines. Why do refs get to be coddled?  The entire viewing audience gets to see them screw up royally more often they they should, it may restore some faith in the conference if we knew there were actually consequences for it.

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MichiBuck12's picture

Why should officials punishment be public? To satisfy your thirst for blood? Todays society is far too concerned with getting its pound of flesh for every perceived injustice. Poor officiating gets handled behind closed doors as it should be. We don't need to broadcast these guys worst moments for the world to see. Especially when their good moments go completely unnoticed. The idea that officials are "sheltered" is hilariously stupid. Go officiate a season of a youth sport and tell me how sheltered you feel when its over. Then magnify that by a thousand and you might start to understand just how unsheltered a college official is.

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

Who's thirst for blood is the conference satisfying when they announce other punishments?  If its good for players and coaches, it should be good for officials as well.

So player punishments are public, and coaching punishments are public yet its stupid to think that hiding officials punishment is sheltering them?  Why should they be treated differently?  Given they are, they are absolutely being sheltered compared to players and coaches.  Then god forbid a player or coach calls a ref out for their incompetence, they get publicly punished for that too.

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youra6's picture

Coaches make a ton more than refs and are the faces of their respective programs. Therefore they are subjected to a lot more public scrutiny.

Player announcements are only made public if a school has to disclose the violation like a police report.  A lot of times reprimands are behind closed doors, ie: "Player X is suspended because he/she violated student/team conduct" and we never get to hear or see what happened.

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Sanitarian2's picture

What does the salary level of each example have to do with public scrutiny and being held responsible for your actions, errors in judgment, simple mistakes. I think something as simple as making public a note of how many officials were given a sternly worded letter for their obvious and clear errors and the resulting additional training or book learning would be enough to satisfy most ticket purchasers. 

It's past time to go computer with ball/strikes in MLB for example. There are officials there that have outrageous strike zones, announcers note it, players know it and nothing changes. 

Sani

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ohiopanda's picture

Refs aren’t breaking any rules by making a mistake on the field. If they do a poor job, they’re essentially demoted as has been pointed out. If you really cared, you can start tracking who is reffing where and when. Refs get enough shit on gamedays and occasionally are subject to harassment for weeks afterwards 

Publicly announcing a ref’s punishment accomplishes nothing besides making people like you happier. Imagine if they say ‘Ref John blew a call, so this week he’s reffing Team X vs Team Z instead of A vs B’ 

Plus, I’ll click on an article about the suspension of a coach or player, and those suspensions will get public somehow. I’m not going to click on an article about the punishment of an obscure ref. 

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

Refs aren’t breaking any rules by making a mistake on the field.

I mean, we've seen Denzel Ward, Bradley Roby, Corey Smith and Joey Bosa all serve suspensions without breaking any rules. Standard should be the same.

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ohiopanda's picture

That's not even remotely comparable and is completely false. The players were considered to have broken a rule of the game and therefore suspended according to the rule. Doesn't matter if you consider the call or the rule correct or not. 

The fact that such terrible calls are being made across all major sports DESPITE lengthy reviews being used in the game is the more important point. Is it easier to 1) make a correct call on 0.5 second play, 2) write clearer rules, AND/OR 3) make a correct call after reviewing it for a few a minutes. Options 2 and 3 (which are much easier to do than 1) should be able to make incorrect initial calls harmless.

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MichiBuck12's picture

They announce player suspensions because the players are the point of the game. The officials are supposed to have the smallest possible role. The focus isn't supposed to be on the officials but sore losers that can't accept their losses are increasingly focusing on them. You never hear the winning teams fans complain about the refs do you? 

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LandonTruckedCollins's picture

Because they are employees? I want to see your performance review. Why is it confidential?

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

My performance review or my disciplinary file?  I mean, you're welcome to look at either I guess.  I believe they are contractors as well.

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hetuck's picture

I remember the crew from the Illinois Juice Williams game was censured for calling 17 holdings the week before. The result was only one holding call when the Illini were tackling Buckeye defenders. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

That and awarding Juice 7 points even though he fumbled 2 yards before he crossed the goal line.

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Zimmy07's picture

And letting a bunch of pick plays go.

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CALPOPPY's picture

They got the ball on the 2, but it was on a long reception by Daniel Dufrene, which was fumbled out of bounds in the endzone, with a Buckeye recovering but maybe out of bounds. 

Funny thing is...I remembered Dufrene fumbling, but misremembered that they didn’t actually score on that play. They brought it out to the two and Juice threw a TD to another receiver.

So much for my memory!

Memento mori

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

Yeah, you're right.  Didn't he fumble it through the EZ too which should have been an OSU touchback?

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CALPOPPY's picture

I was just reading an Illini fan board about the play (too lazy to find video). I think that an OSU player might have recovered in the endzone, but been touching out of bounds. I thInk that’d be a touchback, as would if it rolled out of the endzone. Just not sure how they were awarded the ball on the 2. The Illini fans were flummoxed as well, as said that the same thing had happened in the Cal-Oregon game the week prior, and that it was defense ball at the 20.

But if the Illini had recovered, then it should have been a TD in the endzone. So why it got put at the 2 is really confusing.

Memento mori

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hetuck's picture

The sad thing about this is it wasn't reviewed. Back then, OSU followed a policy not not showing reviews in the stadium for fear of inciting the crowd. You got a corny graphic of raining yellow flags instead. See my comment about hoping OSU will use reviews as a home field advantage like Texas A&M did against LSU. If you haven't seen the video, it is hilarious. Scoreboard operators talking about the crowd carrying them out on their shoulders. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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MichiBuck12's picture

I would 100% agree with this. Refs certainly have their biases and can be affected by various factors, because thats just human nature. But they do want to call games as accurately as possible. Its certainly possible for them to lose their temper just like anyone else and make a call or two out of spite, but again thats human nature. Overall I think refs do the best that they can. And they don't have the benefit of slow motion replay and 8 different angles when they make a call in real time. I get so sick of the constant talk about refs and their impact on the game. It seems more and more the officiating gets brought up as a factor in the outcome and its ridiculous.

Its even worse living in michgan. You'd think there was a third team on the field the way these people talk. And it doesn't matter if its the wolverines or the lions or the Redwings or the Tigers. Listen to the local sports talk radio up here and its all about what their team did, what the opponent did, and what the refs did. 

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Meek's picture

If someone is expecting to be downvoted, should we meet their expectations?

- OSU ISE -+-  Premium Banter -+- OH48 80k -

See you in Indy!

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Buckeye06's picture

There are things that refs do that shouldn't be done, and that needs to be fixed.

For example, in soccer, linesmen are told to ONLY call offsides if the call is 100% sure.  All the time there are calls where a guy is very close to level or in fact level, and the flag goes up costing teams chances to score.

In football, the same thing is done on fumbles.  Unless you are SURE a knee is down, you should rule it as a fumble and review.  That gets messed up far too often.

For most calls, I agree.  It's difficult to know whether someone is flopping or actually held on every single play.  Is Harden throwing out his foot or did Draymond step into his area to not allow him to land.  

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Wargor's picture

The football with fumbles one really irritates me.  That is one where all it takes is following a policy of letting the play pan out and trusting in replay.  If need be institute a rule of a post-facto call.  Ref thinks the knee is down and indicates it somehow while still allowing play to continue (no whistle).  Then replay can determine if he was right, and if it can't it defaults to the un-whistled call.  

Soccer offside is a tough one, and it would be a rare thing for a ref to be at the perfect angle for every call, even though replay can be.  Makes me wonder if they need to turn that over to the booth.  You can freeze-frame right when toe meets ball and draw a perfect line, thus pretty much ensuring the right call every time.  Just play on until and unless the booth whistles down.  

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Keze's picture

Depends if you are talking SEC where the bagmen controls everything.

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hetuck's picture

1. The umpires in the B1G title game had some incredibly close calls. One was upheld, one was overturned, both to OSU's benefit.

2. Terry Porter made the correct Fiesta Bowl call. The side judge who had the play directly in front of him as well as the third down play at 1:48 blew it. 

3. I hope OSU learned from Texas A&M about the importance of immediately getting replays to favor OSU on the scoreboard to influence the crowd, then the replay official. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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Daniel's picture

I'm a D1 ref in college volleyball, working in the SEC and ACC.  I realize it's not college football or basketball, but it's still a very fast game.  On the ref stand, you only have one angle, so that's what you have to go with it.  Being a ref is just hard, and refs do the best they can.  All college games, no matter the sport, are so fast that you never have time to figure which team you will try to screw one team over another.  You just see the call, blow your whistle or throw the flag, and go with what you think you saw. 

On lack of consequences, someone above mentioned that the officials get reprimanded over incorrect calls by getting less matches, or moved to a smaller conference (which equals less pay).  That poster was absolutely correct.  Hasn't happened to me, but I've seen it happen to a lot of referees.

Those who have never reffed, even a Little League game, will never understand the pressure of being an official.  It's the only job where you are expected to be perfect from your very first game.....and improve from there.

With all of that said, I'll still yell at my TV sometimes at a call!

Go Bucks.  Screw Michigan.     

Va Buck

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Triv's picture

Those who have never reffed, even a Little League game, will never understand the pressure of being an official

Never been yelled at louder in my life than when I called a kid safe at the plate on a bang bang play in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the 6th (this league played 6 inning games). If I recall correctly it was a playoff game too. To this day I'm still 100% certain the kid beat the tag, just as the opposing coach who laid into me is probably 100% certain the kid never touched home plate (that was his argument as he came storming out of the dugout to yell at a 19 year old me in a U12 baseball game). Honestly, if the game hadn't ended with that call, I probably would've been force to toss the guy.

Took about 20 minutes to get the coach to sign my form to send to the league office so I'd get paid for the game.

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

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Wargor's picture

Soccer refs locally for below high-school are supposed to get paid before the game starts.  

Some clubs are better than others about that, but it saves some hassles.

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Daniel's picture

Triv....I may be on welfare now if I had to wait for the coaches to sign my paper to get paid!  

Va Buck

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MichiBuck12's picture

I was officiating a high school hockey game once where a kid that had gotten kicked out came back on the ice after the game to yell at me (automatic suspension). Then the coaches kid decided to shoot his mouth off. I warned him that it was not too late for me to give him a game misconduct. He shoved me, so I did it. Then his dad (the coach) lost his shit and threatened to kick my ass in the parking lot so I tossed him too. And this all happened after the handshake line at the end. But the dumbest part was, I called twice as many penalties on their opponents as I had called on them. And the calls I made on them were insanely obvious. The rink had cameras, and all 3 of those guys ended up suspended for the rest of the season after the league reviewed the tape. I never officiated again after that. I'm not dealing with that bullshit for $15/game. Ten years later that kid is now in my mens league and he's "that guy" thats always trying to start shit, and acting like he's playing for the Stanley Cup. And his dad still comes to every game to live vicariously through his son.

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Daniel's picture

Buck12.....Sounds like a couple of losers there.  Any chance they are Michigan fans?

Va Buck

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Sanitarian2's picture

Yeah, I had to come to the aid for a baseball official that was about to be beaten in the parking lot after a game. The poor guy was alone, the base ump failed to show up and he went ahead and let the teams play.(ACME BALL) It's tough to call first and second from home and nobody from the home team volunteered to help and we the visitors were not asked to help for some reason. 

He was being shoved by a father as he was removing his equipment next to his car. I came over with my sawed off sledge hammer handle and ran the father off before it got too far out of hand. My wife wasn't pleased that I got involved but dang it, you have to help when you can.

Sani

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RubixTube's picture

Never been yelled at louder in my life than when I called a kid safe at the plate on a bang bang play in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the 6th (this league played 6 inning games).

I had almost this exact experience in my first ever baseball game, only the coach in question was also my  7th grade football coach.  Down a run in the bottom of 6 and with a runner on, his son stepped to the plate and tattoo'd a ball to right center that seemed to roll forever! (rec leagues don't get fences y'all).  The outfield managed to get the ball in and make a close play at the plate.  Dust cloud rolling, parents from both sides yelling in excitement, coaches on the edge of the dugout waiting to either celebrate or challenge my call and I uttered two words that shut them all down....."No pitch". 

I had dusted the plate off and gone to the backstop to collect my mask; when I turned around, the pitcher was halfway through his windup.  Rather than rush, I just threw my arms up and said "No pitch!" but the batter swung and chaos ensued.

Coincidentally, I saw a post on a local parents facebook group a couple of weeks ago, a mom had posted to complain that her son's team had played yet another game without umpires because none showed up.  Several hundred comments from pissed off parents about no show or "horrible" umps, a veteran offical finally stepped in and said "You parents are the very reason that no one will sign up to call your kids games."

Never before in the history of man have lives less lived been more chronicled. - Dennis Miller

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Sonof'47alum's picture

I think reffing is much harder than playing—and I played D1 soccer many years ago and continued playing in the Cosmopolitan League in NYC for many years.  I give you all the credit in the world for doing it.

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seyekcuB's picture

I just don't understand why you need officials on the field of play anymore with all the camera angles. Boxing and mma are the only sports you need to physically be out there.
Officials once their identity is revealed will be bribed it's a fact.

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Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

You either forgot the italics font; or are lost and belong at Mgoblog.

jebes Michigana

jebi rak

Ako ne možete postavljati bez gluposti ... nemojte

Ako vièeš na suce, ti si šupak
 

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allinosu's picture

The refs are going to make mistakes. As fans we will dwell on the ones that were against us. Remembering the PSU comment section after we kick a FG clearly after the clock ran out and a terrible holding miss on Braxton's TD run. It's as wide as it is long and coaches used to comment that all one could hope for is that missed calls for equals missed calls against. There is no need for slow motion. If it's a bang bang play then let it go.

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CTBuckeyeFan's picture

The Vonn Bell "interception" in that game was the most egregious of them all.  Then they doubled down by not being able to get the replay on it in time.  Heads should have rolled for that.

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tcm1968's picture

But do I think they are consciously trying to call a game for or against a particular team?

I tend to agree with this from the win-loss side of things... However, with gambling and now things like Fanduel and Draftkings there are TONS of money streams that a ref can influence. I would imagine a good number of them make money on the side influencing the game. You can bet something like how many free throws in a game.. that would be really easy to manipulate and not affect the overall game for the most part.

Go Bucks!

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Iwannagobacktoohiostate's picture

Perhaps refs should get tipped like dealers in Black Jack when their calls are creating winners.

They have no true effect on the outcome..... but it keeps the vibe going better for the gambler.  No?

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Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

As a retired basketball official, I can tell you that it might be one of the hardest things I ever did professionally.  The OHSAA has stated that if trends continue, within 5 to 10 years, it will be routine for VARSITY BOYS BASKETBALL games to be cancelled due to lack of available officials.  The numbers are staggering.  10 years ago, one of the Associations I belonged to had 450 members.  My understanding, that numbers is now down by almost 70%.  The number one reason most officials gave for quitting was abuse.

As you can tell by  the number of DVs I can get in threads like the Game of Thrones one, I am pretty immune to criticism.  And there were times I asked myself if it was worth it.  I thought it still was, but I know many officials who were even better than me who quit because they decided the $65.00 they got to drive from Lakewood to Vermillion just to be verbally abused and threatened wasn't worth it.

I had a coach once yell at me that I blew a call.  I responded, "Maybe. But since the only Man in history to be perfect was crucified, I'm glad. It keeps me humble.  How about you?"  He blinked for a second and then laughed and said "Good one."  Never, ever had trouble with him again.

jebes Michigana

jebi rak

Ako ne možete postavljati bez gluposti ... nemojte

Ako vièeš na suce, ti si šupak
 

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NorthPoleBuckeye's picture

I don't care for the rule that some calls cannot be reviewed, why not? We have the technology, use it when need be. I also don't care that even after review, the refs still get it wrong. 

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Poco Loco's picture

The only thing I ask of officials is consistency. Like baseball, the hitters can live with an umpire that has a consistent strike zone, wide, high, low. It is the ones that jump around so that you don't know what is going on.

As for getting on officials, I learned my lesson in my first high school basketball game. I sassed off and got a T. My father, a football coach and a basketball official met me in the locker room and told me that I had my first T. He said the second and you don't play again this season. Only had one T in three years.

a hard rock miner from Butte, Montana

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Wargor's picture

I get what you are saying, but the only thing I insist on is safety.  I've seen too many soccer games where the ref loses control and play starts becoming violent and dirty.  As in any contact sport it is a tough thing to judge, but no finalist trophy for the Tin Division of U13 Girls Over-Crowded Parking Lot Memorial Tournament is worth a few extra concussions, and the refs are the one group out there with no bias being paid to remember that.

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

My biggest problem with officiating is consistency.  I don't care if you call something, just enforce the same standard on both teams, and enforce the same standards among the crew.  It is infuriating to see one guy in the three-man basketball crew calling what the other two are letting go.  And, it's equally frustrating when what you do will get called differently depending on if a play simply went right or left.

I think referees try to do an honest job, but I think they are influenced by the leagues they're working for.  

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Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

 think referees try to do an honest job, but I think they are influenced by the leagues they're working for.

This is absolutely true.  The conference commissioners control assignments.  If you want to work, you call the game the way they say.

some examples:

  1.  3 second call.  you can get players out of the key without blowing your whistle.  If you can't, according to one assignor, you aren't trying hard enough.  And if you are calling too many, you are focusing on the wrong things.  Besides, most people don't even understand the rule, so when they are calling for it, most of the time they are wrong.
  2.   In almost every case, you better referee "for the advantage".  If a player commits, what according to the literal rules a foul; but gains no advantage from it...consider it incidental contact and don't slow down the game.  Safety and advantage determine fouls in many leagues, not contact.  Another assignor's philosophy is that basketball IS a contact sport; not football.  Football is a collission sport.
  3.   In a related way, another assignor in an inner city league, didn't want ticky tack calls.  (his words)

These were some of the issues that referees faced.  We aren't beholden to coaches (directly) or even ADs.  We are beholden to the conference commissioners, who either are the assignors themselves, or they have someone who works for the,

jebes Michigana

jebi rak

Ako ne možete postavljati bez gluposti ... nemojte

Ako vièeš na suce, ti si šupak
 

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bd2999's picture

I generally agree, but there are some games where it seems the calls go one way and they should not be that one sided. For whatever reason. The Northwestern vs OSU for example. OSU should have had some penalties and maybe more, but NW got away with a fair number of things. The refs were hesitant to call things that were obvious on NW.

Heck, the refs were the only thing stopping that game from being a blow out in the first quarter or so. Not that the OSU defense helped matters at all, but the refs did not help. I do not think it was a conspiracy or anything but it was confusing.

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Buck61's picture

I worked basketball and football many moons ago, getting my start with the officiating classes at OSU. While working my way up the ranks I started moving around the country and with relocation and odd work hours I gave it up.  That being said I rarely get made about a missed call, what I do get made about is a rule not being applied properly, walking off incorrect yardage on a penalty for example. The other one that really gets me mad is when an official gets lazy and is out of position to make the call or anticipating a play and making a call before the play is complete.

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

what I do get made about is a rule not being applied properly, walking off incorrect yardage on a penalty for example.

This one irritates me, also. How officials can misinterpret rules, or just flat get them wrong slays me. 

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Sanitarian2's picture

Rule books are far too large with too many situations were judgment is required by the officials.

Sani

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NewPhilaFan's picture

I find it amusing when someone will say that we need "better" officials.  Where do folks think these better officials will be found?  The NFL probably has the best football officials due to the prestige and more likely, the higher pay.  No matter our grievances with them, they are the best that we will ever see on the field.

In fact, with the lack of officials at lower levels, this will eventually impact the quality at the NFL and NCAA D1 level as some of those younger officials bailing on the profession would have been at the highest levels as they moved up the ladder.

Let's Go Bucks

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Without the refs... it'll be anarchy.

Go Bucks. In Honor.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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KBonay's picture

New Orlean Saints would like a word....

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KBonay's picture

Vegas Golden Knights say ‘hold my beer’

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