Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Officiating needs a revolution

Get on the horn and call Ron Paul, because someone needs to start a revolution.

I want everyone to watch this video:

Now think: what happened in that video?

*South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia took the snap and started running
*He rolled to the left
*Umpire Wilbur Hackett Jr. (SEC official) shuffles his feet toward Garcia
*Hackett throws his shoulder into Garcia, slowing the quarterback and allowing LSU defenders to finish the job
*Hackett looks down at the fallen quarterback making absolutely no attempt to apologize or play innocent

Raise your hand if you think the official was trying to get out of the way of the South Carolina QB.

Raise your hand if you think the official was raising his arm to protect himself.

Raise your hand if you think Hackett, the umpire, did absolutely nothing wrong in that play.

Really? No one thinks so?

My question, then, is this: If we intelligent sports fans can CLEARLY see that this was, at best, a suspicious play by the official... why can't anyone else?

Here, according to an article on ESPN.com, is the reaction from South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier:

"He was trying to get out of the way," Spurrier said of Hackett, according to The State in Columbia, S.C. "Stephen sort of cut back right into him. Sometimes that will happen."

Here is the reaction from the SEC office:

When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.

Do those eggheads in their ivory tower really expect us to buy that crap? I don't buy it. Not for a second. And if I were coach Spurrier I would be out-of-my-head livid about that kind of action from the officials.

Not only was the official not in the "appropriate position," the dude flat out threw his shoulder into the SC quarterback!

But I guess Spurrier is a classier guy than I am. The 'Cocks did, after all, end up scoring on the drive.

Still, this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. More and more, starting with NBA official Tim Donaghy and continuing with officials in every sport, referees and officials are becoming suspect in their calls and their professionalism. Officials should be impartial rule-enforcers, not emotional participants in the contest. Increasingly it's becoming apparent that human bias is creeping into officiating.

So how do we cure this illness? Well, if conferences, coaches and media continue to give officials like Hackett a free pass then there's no way to cure it. Officials will continue to carry on with business as usual because right now they are untouchable. Coaches, players and media members can't criticize officials because if they do they get reprimanded and fined (just ask Rocky Long). No one, absolutely no one, holds officials accountable (except us fans--which is why it's totally acceptable to boo officials at games).

I believe the NCAA needs to remove the sanctions against those who speak out against referees and officials. Coaches and players need to be able to bring poor officiating to public attention. Officials need to know that their poor performance will be recorded and reported. If the love of the game won't keep them on the straight and narrow, maybe public humiliation will.

Anyway, videos like the one above make me sick. It just reminds me of the current abysmal state of officiating in the sports I love.


Justin said...

I saw a similar video from the Texas game that showed the official give a little fist pump when Texas scored. While there is not any "harm" in a fist pump, it shows definite bias to one team. I would question every call that particular official made.

Justin said...

Sorry, here is the url http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrzdWla8st8

Adam said...

I saw that video too, Justin. Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan said...

I don't think the Hackett situation was as intentional as you think...negligent, perhaps, but not intentional. He probably just wasn't paying attention, got caught off guard, and reverted to his days as a college linebacker and knocked the runner down.

Adam said...

Jonathan, I have to disagree. Watch the video again. The referee shuffled toward the player and threw his shoulder into him.

And then the official didn't do anything after the play to indicate he was sorry or made a mistake.

I'm sorry, but that was intentional.

Jonathan said...

I played strong safty in high school. Watch the ref. again, not only did he suffle his feet, but planeted his feet as he stepped into the quarterback. Putting his wieght into it. This is the same move that we were taught when going after the running back in High School. He did not even try to get out of the way. If was defending himself them he would have been knocked down.

He shadowed the quarterback through out the play. It was not necessary for him to change positions to make the call, it was a open field. He could have stayed in same position and the quaterback would run right buy him.

The Ref. was in the right place at the right time to make the play. Only problem is, he was the referee not a player.

Some say that he was having a relapse of his playing days, fine. But if that is the case then referees need to have a head eveluation before they should oficiate.

It was intentional, conscience or unconscience, but intentional.

The SEC might be selling, but I ain't buy'n it.

I can't believe that officials are held more accountable! They play a huge part in games. The coaches are accountable, the players are accountable, but the refs are untouchable? Nah, no way, they need to hold some acountablillity, a fine, a suspension, something to keep them honest. I know it needs to be highly regulated, and it could be complex, but come one. But why did Donaghy do what he did? Becasue he thought he was above the rules, why? Becasue he makes them....