Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Week in Awful Officiating

There's a reason Rutgers coach Mike Rice looks so disturbed (or more so than usual). His team got royally jobbed by the refs yesterday afternoon in the Big East tournament at the Garden. I don't really have an allegiance to any NCAA program (Hofstra and Brooklyn College aren't exactly hot beds for athletics these days) but I pull for St. Johns as they've always been kind of New Yorks' school and I've enjoyed their resurgence this season. Unfortunately, the officials seemed to feel the same way yesterday, either getting caught up in the excitement of the crowd, or fulfilling some mandate from the Big East higher ups to ensure the Johnnies advance on their unofficial home court. Either that or they're blinder than David Patterson.

As has been dissected all yesterday evening and this morning, there were a couple of non-calls that seemed a little bit suspect, but then things just got nutty. After a mid-court steal by Justin Brownlee, the refs figured the game was over like it was a mid-field interception and St. Johns would retain possession after running out of bounds. In all the excitement, Brownlee (without dribbling) took three steps out of bounds and flung the ball into the stands while there was still over a second left on the clock. Instead of giving Rutgers another chance, the game was declared over and the Scarlet Knights were left to wonder what could have been.

Missed calls happen all the time in sports, it's part of the human error that most purists will swear to you is integral to the game, but shouldn't there be some sort of way to review a critical call that is so obviously f$#%ed up? Maybe this is karmic payback for Rutgers' phantom foul 4-point play that got them a win earlier this season (Antonio Davis is that you?) but it still is unfortunate and takes away from what has been an exciting basketball renaissance for the Johnnies and puts the spotlight on sloppy officiating.

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