Poor calls affect games' outcomes

The officiating in the Pacific 10 Conference reached another all-time low in Saturday's Oregon-UA basketball game, during which a total of 50 fouls were called.

What game were the officials watching?

My question is, why don't the West coast conference officials learn to let the teams play?

In the East, Syracuse and Georgetown can murder each other for 40 minutes and have 20 fouls called on a bad day.

It is not just in Arizona games, either.

Arizona State coach Bill Frieder was recently asked why he called a timeout with two seconds remaining and a four-point lead against Southern Cal. He replied by saying anything could happen with these guys officiating, referring to the Pac-10 officials. What has to happen for the Pac-10 to get real officials?

Scout the high schools?

Pull some guy off the streets?

It already seems like they do the latter.

It is not only basketball either. In a recent baseball game between the UA and New Mexico, Pac-10 umpires boggled a close play at first base. The first base umpire was screened from the play, probably by his glasses, and did not see the tag. It was obvious the player was out, but after conferring with the home plate ump, 100 feet away, he called the player safe.


What is the effect of the poor officiating in the games? Well, not only does it take away from top performances, it also hurts the teams when they play other conferences and expect the same garbage Pac-10 calls from the "real officals" in the other conferences. Subsequently, players are used to the mid

ticky-tack calls in the Pac-10, and when they argue their point, they are often whistled for a technical foul.

Some other instances of blown calls this year include a basket credited to UCLA's Ed O'Bannon at the end of the first half against the UA at Pauley Pavilion. The basket appeared to go in before the buzzer, but after the red light that signifies the end of the half came on. The officials may have been distracted by the glowing light and not concerned with whether or not the ball went in on time.

The basket was consequently allowed and the UA lost the game by two points.

In the whole scheme of things, that one basket could end up dropping the Wildcats one or two seeds when the tournament pairings are announced a week from Sunday.

What is my solution?

Well, first of all, the Pac-10 could take a few pointers from the conferences back East. Let the players play a little. There is no reason that Miles Simon or Joseph Blair should be called for a ticky-tack hand check away from the ball, as both were in the Oregon game.

It is not too much to ask for a little consistency. Officiating is a tough job. They have to run up and down the court and put up with loudmouth coaches and players' attitudes, but c'mon.

Short of computerizing the games and employing a non-human to make the calls, the officials are here to stay.

I attempted to call Booker Turner, the Pac-10's head of basketball referees, but the secretary there told me that he was out to lunch. Probably devising some new plan to call even more fouls.

In football, holding can be called on almost every play. But the officials usually don't call it unless the play significantly altered the game's course. So why do Pac-10 officials annoy the players and fans with worthless calls in the midst of a 20-point blowout?

A question for the ages, I guess.

Oh well, let's just hope the Wildcats' NCAA title hopes or UCLA's, for that matter, hinge on the players on the court rather than the officials calling the game.

Patrick Moran is a business and public administration senior and, despite what some may think, he is always right. His column appears every Wednesday.

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