I’ve always been amazed how some fans believe referees/officials have an agenda against the team they root for. Most fans don’t realize the scrutiny officials face when calling college Division I football or basketball games or NBA or NFL games.
Every call is evaluated. Officials spend countless hours reviewing film. They attend seminars. They review reports following evaluations of their performances from the previous game.
One major area of emphasis is being in the right position to make the call. Most officials are well informed of the rules. Some are judgment calls whether it’s the always difficult charge/block in basketball or offensive holding in football.
But referees “try to get it right.”
Researching a story for Wednesday’s Oklahoman on NFL substitute officials, I was surprised to discover that even Division II football officials put in long hours, sometimes working 40 hours a week to hone their craft in addition to their “regular” jobs.
During two years on the Thunder beat I had the opportunity to interview some NBA officials. The NBA on occasion has officials meet with the media in every city to help fans better understand the lengths the league goes to help their officials make the right call.
And there are incentives for officials/referees to “get it right.” Officials/referees that consistently grade out the highest are rewarded by calling NBA or NFL playoff games. On the college level officials/referees can earn additional money by calling bowl games or the NCAA Tournament.
Officials/referees are easy targets. Yeah, they miss some calls. Just not as many as fans think.
The next time you’re convinced a specific official “has it out for your team” just remember officials/referees are closely evaluated on a game-by-game basis and have incentive to “get it right.”