Protected: Game Log 2/19/15: Again, not quite what I wanted

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Losing On Purpose…what if I were on this game???

Deadspin reports that two girls’ basketball teams in Tennessee tried to lose a postseason game in order to avoid a national powerhouse later in the postseason (the winner would wind up on the powerhouse’s side of the bracket). The state association wound up tossing both teams from the postseason–I think wisely. The game was Saturday, the story broke last night and was picked up pretty much everywhere today.

Deadspin’s story is here–note the videos, which are thoroughly damning.  The local paper reports it here.

Not surprisingly, I go immediately to the officials’ perspective.  In the over-and-back video, the C official nearest the camera gives his view perfectly with that smirk/grimace as he turns to the side.  It’s obvious what is happening.

So what ought the crew to do in a similar situation?

The rulebook gives us the option in 5.4.1 to forfeit the game.  Forfeit situations include failure to go along with a technical foul penalty or “other acts which make a travesty of the game.”  That is clearly happening here, but there are two problems.  First, since the team wants to lose, that won’t help them.  Second, there’s no stipulation in the rulebook for a double forfeit, which is clearly called for here.

So there’s not much the officials can do beyond what they did.  In fact, the most important thing the crew chief did was not to talk to the coaches–that only happened when a team was about to shoot a hoop at the wrong basket.  It was the really strong game report he wrote, much of which is included in the stories I link to above.  He listed enough issues that were happening and let the state sort it out.  I also think that the officials were fortunate that the antics were videoed and wound up on Twitter.  There is no misinterpreting what was happening there.  It’s nice to see social media work to our advantage for once.

So if I were in this situation, I’m not sure there’s much I can do beyond what the officials did.  Good job to the crew, all in all, based on what I see.

Protected: Game Log 2/16/15: Playoffs and the Rules Guy has Rules Issues

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A feather in my cap, a challenge at hand…

I got another playoff assignment yesterday.  I’ll be heading 90 minutes up the road to do a loser-out playoff game for middle-sized school girls.  And I’ll be headed there alone, where I will meet up with two officials from an hour-and-a-half in the other direction.  Me, a small-city official, will meet up with two small-town officials.

I’ve done this twice before, both two years ago.  The first of these went fine, although, as I said at the time, “[i]t was tricky going from “Hi, I’m Paul” to working a playoff game in under an hour.”  The second was higher-stakes (a bi-district championship game) with more quality partners, and I was so amped up that I poached a little in the first quarter.  In the end, though, I won my partners over.

This game falls somewhere in between those two on the importance and challenge level.  I haven’t seen either of the teams, but the one with a superior win-loss record beat the one with a losing record (who made the playoffs via play-in game) by 18 last week.  It’s a loser-out-game, so throw the record books out, yatta yatta…but I’d rather be working people I know than people I do not know and whom it’s unlikely I’ll see again.

I am not the crew chief, so I’ll just have a couple of questions (maximum of two) that I’ll bring up:

–How do you want me to handle it if I have information from your area (out-of-bounds, 2- vs. 3-pointer, etc.)?
–How should we as a crew handle misses outside of our areas?

If I have answers to those questions, I then will be able to chill out and focus on my area.  In a way, I rather wish my two partners were from different towns, but my assignor says they’re both from the same rural association, so I worry about being odd man out.  But…hey.  Control what you can control and all that.  I can control calling my area, so I will.

I don’t want to read my assignor’s mind, but I can’t imagine he has too many mixed-crew situations like this come up, and this is the third he has given to me in three years.  I can’t help but view that as a positive: I’m the guy he trusts to represent out association to outsiders.  I’ll take that.

Protected: Game Log 2/10/15: A surprise tripleheader! A surprise playoff doubleheader!

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Protected: Game Log 2/6/15: Two-man blues

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Lauren Holtkamp and Chris Paul

When I saw that Chris Paul was critical of NBA official Lauren Holtkamp–and saw that it was on the front page of the website–I thought he must have gone off on her Cornbread Maxwell style. Then I read his comments, which were garden-variety complaining, as ESPN reports it:

“Some of [the technical fouls] were ridiculous,” Paul said. “The tech that I get right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech.

“That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

A little harsh, yes.  But I don’t see a gender-based attack.  He could have said the same thing about either of the other two first-year NBA officials, Dedric Taylor or Justin VanDuyne, and the only words that would have changed would have been the pronouns.  Is it possible that Paul was more bothered because he was T’d up by a woman?  Maybe, but it’s not proveable, and I would like to give Paul (or anyone) the benefit of the doubt before calling him a sexist (or a racist), since I would like the same benefit of the doubt given to myself.

So everything went according to a threadbare script.  The referees union backed up Holtkamp, saying she belongs.  The players union backed up Paul, citing his personal and professional life as proof he didn’t have it in for Holtkamp because of her gender.  The NBA investigated, found no gender-based backing for his complaints and fined him $25,000 (which Paul can likely find beneath his couch cushions) for criticizing officials.

So that’s that. Garden variety posturing. Paul makes his point (and doesn’t look good doing it, especially considering the stats on the Clippers, Holtkamp, and T’s). Holtkamp learns her fellow officials have her back.  It’s happened before, and it will happen again.

The only group that comes off looking bad is the media.  There is NO WAY this makes the front page of ESPN if the official in question were Taylor or VanDuyne.  The net result is that Holtkamp gets more attention because of her gender. And based on everything I’ve read about her (and it’s unrelentingly positive), she wouldn’t like that. Right this minute, the headline on ESPN says “CP3 fined $25K for criticizing female referee.” And that makes me feel for Holtkamp, who takes pride in her game taking her this far, as a USA Today profile shows:

Holtkamp is emphatic that she is a referee who happens to be a woman.

“I would say really from day one when I got hired into the D-League I’ve been treated as a referee as far as my performance,” she said. “It’s been about my performance and the quality of work.”

She would undoubtedly loathe the extra, unneeded word, “female,” in that ESPN headline. Seriously, if they have to save space by printing “CP3” instead of “Paul,” why not lose the whole word “female”?  (It’s worth noting that the NBA.com story I link to above does not use the word “female”.)

So an eye-roll at ESPN, and an eye-roll back at myself:  I’ve made it certain they’ll repeat their mistakes by giving those articles a few more clicks.