Varsity Kansas

VK Open discussion (1-13)

Remember today’s Live Chat with myself and guest Jeff Lutz from 1-2 p.m. on the blog. Write in your questions or comments about high school sports and we’ll respond right then.

Yesterday the conversation was pretty fascinating about parents and their roles. Check out the 1-12 open discussion if you want to continue it.

Let’s talk refereeing.

I’ve always been a proponent of coaches and referees because I think they take needless criticism from a wide variety of people who would never lower themselves to do those jobs for such little pay and such negativity thrown at them. I often  give both the benefit of the doubt.

Referees often hear the old tried and true — call it both ways, how much are they paying you to make those calls, are you blind?

I chuckle inside at those a lot of times because it’s clearly a fan who has no sense of objectivity.

But there are those times, and I’ve seen it way too often this season, where referees just don’t know what they’re doing out there. I haven’t seen the old charge-block double foul, which is ridiculous. But I have seen situations of a referee just not being on top of things.

A player motions that he’s coming in for a shooter at the free-throw line but the ref continues to motion him in impatiently. He doesn’t stop motioning and getting irked until he hears the coach tell him it’s for the shooter.

OK, that’s minor. But it’s embarrassing.

There was a ref last year who kept getting annoyed with teams when a player fouled out (it happened about 3 times in this game), telling them to hurry up. So I asked him after the game if the 20 second rule no longer applied (coaches get a specific amount of time to get a new player in). He said that rule was gone. He was quickly corrected by the two guys working with him.

I don’t mind when there’s obviously a young guy being worked in. Maybe he’s tentative, maybe he inadvertently blows a whistle, maybe he calls a charge for a little elbow movement from the ballhandler. I can deal with that — as long as he’s with two other experienced refs.

But I saw a game last week with three officials that were just all making the same questionable calls. Hey, we all have bad nights. I’m by no means perfect and would never attest to being such. But I’ve seen those guys before — and I know that they struggle in pretty much every game I’ve ever seen them.

This only happens rarely, but there’s also officials who think they should be the show. Makes me want to throw up. I’ve seen officials yell at the people at the scorer’s table. Um, yell? Was that necessary?

I’d love to see someone in the stands critiquing these officials. Who’s helping them get better?

Again, let me reiterate that officials have a tough job. I would never do it. There are some good ones out there, they just seem to be more rare.

But I want to see them improve. I want to see the ones who really have no business doing this job to be sent down to JV until they do get better. Coaches are critiqued by their administration, wins and losses are important. What’s the criteria for officials?