Tag Archives: officiating

Upon Further Review, Scrap College Football Replay

As we stand upon the brink of the 137th year of college football, there are few things that could be changed that would make the game itself better.  But, no single game-centric issue needs more fixin’ than the system for college football replays.

We love the college game and it is simply better than the NFL in most ways.  However, the college football replays system should, without question, be conducted the same way they do it in professional football.

Two Scenarios That Capture the Shortfalls of College Football Replays

It’s first and goal at the 2-yard line when a powerful tailback goes off tackle and into a pile.  The officials can’t tell if the ball crossed the goal line because of the mass of humanity mashing against each other.  When the dust clears, the officials make a call…

Whether the refs ruled a touchdown or not is irrelevant here.  Why?  Because you can guarantee that play will be stopped and we’ll all lose patience watching the different angles to see if the guy got in.

The next scenario looks like this.  The offense faces 2nd & 9 at their own 32 late in the first quarter when the QB completes a three-yard pass that may or may not truly have been complete.  When the initial replay is shown, it’s unclear as to whether the nose of the ball hit the ground or if the receiver got his hands under the ball.

No matter.  The “genius” eye in the sky stops play to look at the play from every angle except the receiver’s helmet cam.  Four minutes go by when the ref pulls off the headphones and announces that the call on the field stands.  The result?  It’s now 3rd & 6 instead of 3rd & 9.  Wow!  That’s progress, right?

Upon Further Review…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going back to the way it was for over a century.  No replay.  The refs make the call and the call is final.  Now, get to the line of scrimmage and let’s play.

But, that will never happen and continuing this system makes us bleed from the eyeballs.  So, here’s a solution.

The NFL system puts the decision on the coach.  In both of the aforementioned scenarios, the coach of the defensive team probably never would’ve wasted his challenge on those plays.

If he challenges scenario A and wins, there’s still a good chance that the QB will score on a sneak from the 3-inch line on the next play anyway.  He’d save his challenge for a different scenario.

If he challenges scenario B and wins, the offense is just as likely to convert on third down whether they need six or nine yards.  Again, he’d save his challenge.

In the college system, there are already stoppages in play that destroy the flow of the game and the involuntary replay stoppage makes the games almost unbearable for the fans inside the stadium.  If coaches were given one challenge, they would be likely to use them carefully and then the fans would not be subjected to the endless delays that disrupt the flow and, ultimately, make the games longer.

Instead, the Rules Committee chooses to completely ignore the flaws in the replay system.  The inherent flaw with their approach to their decisions is that millionaire head coaches are the Rules Committee and the last thing they want is more accountability.  So, they leave it up to the replay official to remove the burden.  To boot, this change to the system would result in fewer replays and speed up the game, which will give the networks more dependable windows of time for their broadcasts.

Again, college football is the greatest sport on the planet and I hate to seem like I’m bashing this thing I schedule my year around.  But if I were Czar, I’d make this change to make it that much better.

E-mail Mark at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MarkCFried.

Photo courtesy of Brian Cantoni on Flickr.

Has College Basketball Lost Its Appeal?

March Madness. All you have to do is say those two little words and you conjure up memories for most red-blooded Americans who like to watch college basketball. When I think of college basketball I remember watching The Big East Conference or at the time the Pac-10 Conference game of the week every Saturday when I was a teenager. I could look at most teams and name just about every player on most rosters or at the very least be familiar with all the players’ names. Oh, how times have changed.

I don’t get the same amount of joy watching college basketball anymore. To me, it’s a difficult game to watch. People are going to say “the game is pure” or “they play it because they love the game” or “it’s the same game it’s always been.” You want to know what I say to that? To put it appropriately, I call BS.

The product is not very good at all in my opinion. People like a good product on the court or field when they go watch their teams, but right now they are not getting their money’s worth.

Everybody knows that the NBA is a players’ league. Well, NCAA college basketball is a coach’s league and let’s just say that the coaches are micromanagers of their players. Every possession is grinded out like they are trying to figure out if there was somebody on the grassy knoll. The players are not allowed to freelance too much because that means lost possessions to the coach and it probably means that the player will find himself on the end of the bench or seated right next to their coach getting an ear full of discipline. So to the player it doesn’t benefit them in any way to play a little loose and free. The free movement of basketball isn’t there for college basketball because the college coaches want to play the game in a phone booth and not out in the open like it should be.

After watching Pac-12 (Pac-10 as a youngster) basketball all my life and in person the last couple of seasons it is readily apparent that players don’t have the same skill set they once had. Oh, sure, there are the occasional anomalies that come with that ability to do everything, such as Jahlil Okafor. But, for the majority of players coming into college basketball they have one skill they can do. Some have good ball-handling, some are decent shooters, some rebound or play solid defense, but there are not players that leave college being better players than they were when they came into college basketball. Why?

Let’s be honest about what has happened in big time Division One college basketball. The one and done player is killing the game. Many of these players are just not ready to play on the Division One level, but have talent so the coaches are pressured to play these kids and suffer through the growing pains. The other aspect of college basketball is that it’s just a minor league for the NBA. When players have the opportunity to leave after a semester in college, the product on the floor will suffer greatly. These players are not ready for the professional ranks after four months in college.

College basketball is to the point of being unwatchable to many sports fans like myself. It’s slow, can be ugly, and it is unskilled. For the people that tell me that a 54-50 defensive ball game is fun to watch, I just roll my eyes. If I want to see two people mugging each other I will just watch the next episode of “Law and Order”.

There are wrestling matches in the paint, secondary defenders getting charges off stupid calls, guards playing hand to hand combat at the top of the key, officials with quick whistles slowing the game down to a crawl, and cutters trying to avoid collisions. When you add all this up, it’s not a shock as to why the visual of college basketball is so brutal these days.

“We are getting the game we deserve right now. College basketball is antiquated in the way they do things.” Said Jay Bilas, ESPN analyst and former Duke Blue Devil.

For the average fan, college hoops is boring to watch and the NCAA is not willing to change many things up to improve the product on the floor.

The NBA went through some changes to make the game more visually appealing to its fans. The fans and even people inside the NBA made complaints about how the game became ugly. So the NBA listened to them and over the last 20 years or so, the NBA has been a leader in making its game better. They have cracked down on hand-checking, flopping, backing players down in the lane, and for those actions, it is why the NBA is more visually appealing to fans now. It’s certainly more appealing to me.

The NCAA is suffering through a time where people are not paying attention to college basketball like they used to. Overall attendance is down, ratings are down, and scores are down. Teams are averaging about 67.2 points per game, the lowest average total since 1952, which tells me that college basketball players don’t have the offensive repertoire as they once did. They are certainly more athletic, but that doesn’t mean they are better overall players than their predecessors. Attendance is also down at college basketball games. Overall attendance is down for the seventh straight year and down roughly 360,000 people. In 2006 college basketball attendance averaged 5,237 people and now it averages 4,817. That may not seem like a lot, but to a school to lose roughly 500 paid people to a game means lost revenue that is difficult to recover.

What is driving these fans away? Are people being turned off by one and done players? The drop in skilled players? Maybe. To go along with the drop in attendance, the television ratings have also been declining. ESPN which carries a ton of games has had their viewing of college basketball drop by six percent in the last year. Has conference realignment affected this? I would say yes because the new conferences have taken away some very good rivalries which mean a lot to the fans of those schools, but to presidents of those schools it’s all about the money. Some type of change has to be made for college basketball to return to what it once was and the NCAA has to spearhead that change.

What can be done though? It’s not like the NCAA is an organization that likes to change things. It almost seems like the NCAA have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward that change for it to actually occur.

The NCAA has changed the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds to help out scoring, but when there are a lack of shooters in college basketball that point disappears. As I stated earlier, scoring is down to lowest levels in about 50 years, so what other changes does the NCAA need to look at to increase their ratings and slumping attendance?

Here are just a few ideas.

  1. Take away the possession arrow and replace it with the jump ball. I have hated this possession arrow rule since its inception, so I wouldn’t mind seeing it disappear.
  2. Move the three point line to the NBA distance which would open up the court for penetration.
  3. Get rid of the one-and-one free throw and make every foul the double bonus. This would eliminate the constant fouling at the end of many games.
  4. Make the 10 second backcourt time limit eight seconds.
  5. Put in the defensive three second rule.

Take those for whatever you want, but I think they would better the college game. They would open things up, provide for more movement, and make players play some better defense. No matter how much the NCAA likes to throw out the student/athlete story line, the NCAA is a business and if the product is inferior, the NCAA has to step in and improve it. I’m not saying that change will come anytime soon, but it needs to happen otherwise people will continue to walk away from college basketball.

Image: google

Campus Pressbox 34: A Magpie Tournament and Adjusting Cups in College Football

Mike Wilson (@pigskinopinion) and Seth Merenbloom (@SMerenbloom) talk about the first week of the College Football Playoff Poll, the officiating at the Duke/Miami game, and the solid careers of Frank Beamer and Jerry Kill.

Topics:

  • College Football Playoff Poll: Week 1
  • Miami/Duke officiating: What type of discipline should be done?
  • Frank Beamer career: Who should take over?
  • Jerry Kill career: What does Minnesota do?

Links:

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NBA Officiating is Fixed? Let's Fix NBA Officiating.

Now that the NBA Finals are over and LeBron James has finally taken his place at the championship table, the league needs to take a look at something that for many has overshadowed the 2012 Finals; the officiating.

I know those last two words have half of my readers cheering and half jeering, but shush for a second while I explain.

LeBron James and the Miami Heat DID NOT win a championship because the NBA is fixed. NBA refs don’t have little beepers on their belt that David Stern sends messages to so the zebras know when to blow the whistle before the TV timeout in the second quarter. Thinking the NBA is fixed in that manner is pretty silly. It is possible – even likely – that gamblers may have infiltrated the ranks in the NBA. Tim Donaghy seems to be pretty solid evidence of that. But fixing an entire season and playoff run to ensure a certain team wins the championship is a conspiracy that I find unlikely to be pulled off under the noses of the multi-millionaires that roam the board rooms of NBA team executive offices. Continue reading NBA Officiating is Fixed? Let's Fix NBA Officiating.