clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rule 15.2.a and the state of officials in college basketball

College basketball has a serious problem, and now it is impacting games.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Butler Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

I need to start this with a caveat. I’m aware that Xavier played horribly on Friday. They were trash in almost every facet of the game against a team that is horrible. Butler is going nowhere, Thad Matta isn’t the guy, they’re a mostly irrelevant program. Xavier lost to them because Xavier was bad at basketball.

None of that excuses the officiating at the end of the game. There are three (maybe four) people at the game paid, and paid very well, to make sure that the rules of the game are interpreted correctly and applied when it matters the very most. Courtney Green, Jeff Anderson, and Lamar Simpson failed at that. They did not do their job well. When it mattered, they were bad. When it came to the simple execution of their lone job, they made an inexcusable mistake. If they were doctors, police officers, EMTs, or anything involving quick thing and serious consequence, people would die, and they would die in droves.

The rule in question is this:

Section 15. Basket Interference and Goaltending

Art. 1. It is a violation to commit basket interference or goaltending.

Art. 2. Basket interference. a. Basket interference occurs when a player:
1. Touches the ball or any part of the basket while the ball is on or within the basket. If the touching of the basket involves contact with the net only, the official must determine if the touching had any effect on the ball which would rise to the level of basket interference;
2. Touches the ball while any part of it is within the cylinder that has the ring as its lower base;
3. Reaches through the basket from below and touches the ball before it enters the cylinder;
4. Pulls down a movable ring so that it contacts the ball before the ring returns to its original position; and
5. Causes the basket or backboard to vibrate when the ball is on or within the basket or the backboard and/or is on or in the cylinder.

b. The cylinder is the imaginary geometric figure that has the ring as its base and is formed by the upward extension of that ring.

c. The ball shall be considered to be within the basket when any part of the ball is below the cylinder and the level of the ring.

d. A player may have a hand legally in contact with the ball, when this contact continues after the ball enters the cylinder or when, during such action, the player touches or grabs the basket.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Butler Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

That is the moment in question. The call was basket interference. The ball was never on or in the basket. That’s not in dispute. The ring has not been pulled down. Video, and video available on replay to the refs, showed that. You can read the rest of the rule, the rule that those three incompetents should have known, directly above. There isn’t a violation of it. The officials got the call wrong, and it greatly impacted the outcome of the game.

But, somehow, that wasn’t even the biggest missed call story of the weekend. I dearly love college basketball, hearing it discussed on national radio is exciting. Hearing it discussed as a laughing matter is disheartening. That happened when ACC officials made a call so bad that the conference had to come out and apologize after the game.

The referees watched what happened there and somehow, and, again, this is with the benefit of unending video review, came to the conclusion that no free throws should be awarded because the foul call came after the end of regulation. It takes only one functioning eye to see that is wrong. Yet, after plenty of time spending sucking down camera attention, the refs got it wrong. (No one, by the way, is shedding tears for Duke. It’s inarguably hilarious they lost on a bad call.)

College basketball has to fix this problem, and soon. They impartial adjudicators they have working most of these games just flat out suck. Yes, it’s moving fast, and it’s a split second, and blah blah with the excuses, but so is spray painting lines on a highway, working an assembly line in Maysville, flying an airplane, or just driving on your commute. We don’t tolerate crass incompetence there, we shouldn’t just shrug off like half-evolved Neanderthals as “the human element” when refs mess up. The rules are there so the game is fair. Unequally or faultily applying them ruins the contest.

The NCAA, ACC, and Big East will, of course, do nothing. Refs will continue to be overpaid prancing jesters who serve mostly to try to make the crowning achievements of countless young lives about themselves. There will be no oversight because that involves admitting fault and, far more importantly, cutting into the profit margin. Eventually a ref will get assaulted by a player or coach tired of the constant idiocy and we will all wail and gnash our teeth about the decline of modern sport. The arresting point is now. Fire someone, make someone hold a press conference, or just do something beforebefore the three most hated people at any given game ruin the sport. th