After watching the Arizona women’s basketball team play Oregon State on Saturday night, I am convinced that the Pac-10 Conference had better hang out a new sign on the front of its California offices. The sign should simply read: Real Referees Wanted.
As I talk with people around women’s basketball, it seems that everyone understands that the conference has a serious problem, except for the conference itself! Time after time, officials miss obvious calls for both teams. Saturday night’s game is a good example. The Wildcats were fouled on several put-backs under the basket, but no whistle blew. Meanwhile, on one occasion, Arizona’s Anna Chappell nearly took the head off of one of the Beavers, and again, there was silence.
Inconsistency of officiating is another problem. Why is it that Joan Bonvicini is called for technical fouls every time she opens her mouth but coaches like Kathy Olivier and June Daugherty are allowed to roam well out of the coach’s box and the officials look away? It’s called bad officiating. The sign should simply read: Real Referees Wanted.
Back in the good old days, each officiating crew would normally contain at least one solid, lead official. Names like Violet Palmer and Stan Gaxiola would mean that someone would be in control and deal with the coaches in a fair and impartial manner. This is no longer the case. Now, crews will often come in with three “lesser” officials and the game is usually dominated by one of the three.
Why is this important? Firstly, it’s not fair to the kids. The players work hard everyday in practice and then run into referees who steal the game away from them. Secondly, it’s not fair to coaches who have their very livelihood at stake. Finally, it’s not fair to the fans who pay hard-earned money to watch the players play, and not to hear whistle blow.
The time has come for someone to actually do something about this terrible problem. Everyone knows that the level of officiating is declining but there seems to be no change in site. Maybe it’s time to hang out a sing that reads: Real Referees Wanted. NOW!
See you on the radio!
* Every Arizona women’s basketball game can be heard live on 1330 AM KJLL Radio!
* Remember to join us for the Joan Bonvicini Coaches Show, heard each Monday evening from 6-7 p.m. on KJLL 1330 AM.