Basketball Referee

Basketball Referee


20 Years Experience

Chicago, IL

Male, 60

For twenty years I officiated high school, AAU and park district basketball games, retiring recently. For a few officiating is the focus of their occupation, while for most working as an umpire or basketball referee is an avocation. I started ref'ing to earn beer money during college, but it became a great way to stay connected to the best sports game in the universe. As a spinoff, I wrote a sports-thriller novel loosely based on my referee experiences titled, Advantage Disadvantage

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564 Questions


Last Answer on June 23, 2017

Best Rated

Are you allowed to eject fans?

Asked by Pete_bk about 5 years ago

In most states, each game is supposed to have a function designated game management (or game administrator). This is usually the Athletic Director. So, when a fan needs to be ejected the referee should find the game administrator and say something like, "the guy in the third row with the red shirt must be ejected." In my experience, they always remove the fan as requested. In summary, I have required certain fans to be ejected, but I've never had to physically do it or have a standoff with a fan. If the game management refused to eject a fan, I would refuse to continue ref'ing the game.

What can you do if two of three refes in middle school allow a team to punch players with their fist and rip open a girl players nose with a metal hair bow and so on while not calling it. The whole bench is quiet cause they expell anyone making a sound.

Asked by josh over 4 years ago

Completely unacceptable. If I was the coach I would lodge my complaint with the referees as soon as it started getting rough. If they continued to fail to enforce the legitimate rules of the game I would be compelled to act. I believe that a coach’s first responsibility is the safety of the players, and if I felt that the team’s safety was at risk I would pull my players off the floor and forfeit the match. Then I would write a commentary along with game tape and get the referees bounced (and decertified) for 1) not enforcing the rules of the game and 2) allowing the environment to threaten the safety of the players. It is hard to believe that state certified officials would let this happen - it is also strange to hear about 3 man crews working middle school games. In the conferences I worked, only high school varsity games used 3 ref’s.

can A a head referee sitting outside watching the game over ruled a call made by the two officials that are oficiating a game

Asked by yaz about 4 years ago

No.  There is no provision for a non-participating official to over rule a referee.  If I was watching a couple officials work a game I would not get involved during live play unless the game was devolving into mayhem.  Normally, I would go to the official's lockerroom at halftime and discuss what they saw, what the rule interpertation should be, and how to administer it, but not during the game unless it was totally out of control.  Except in unusual situations, there is no provision for one referee on the floor to over rule the other.  My preference always is that if one of my partners believe I blew a call I want him to approach me and tell me what he saw, and let me decide to change my call.  I used to cover this style in my pre-game conference with the other refs before the game.

Do you ever officiate women's games, and do you think there's anything that can be done to make women's b-ball more interesting to watch? Lord knows I've tried but ...

Asked by Mike Z almost 5 years ago

For the past 5 years my schedule was about 75% girls' games. The game is played below the rim with a focus on passing. Every year I think the girls' games improve in quality on the high school level. Most teams around Chicago have a guard who can penetrate the lane, and a 3 point shooter. What they never have are quick forwards who have inside games. To me, the girl's high school and college games are intersting, but I do not enjoy the women's pro game. It seems like a WMCA pickup game. The girls game will continue to get better, but it won't be the high flying athletic boys game at comparable levels.

Who do you think would win in a game - the best high school men's basketball team in the country or the best women's pro team?

Asked by RonMexico over 4 years ago

Just a speculative guess... I think the boys high school team beats the women's pro team because usually the best boys' team sends a player or two right into the NBA. Males peak physically around 19 or twenty, so I think physicality trumps maturity and practice. Who knows? This question reminds me of the tennis battle of the sexes in 1973 when Bobby Riggs gave Billie Jean King the doubles lines and was soundly trounced (but both made a lot money promoting it!).

Is it traveling in basketball if two players on the same team are both in possession of the ball at the same time and neither player is moving or jumping?

Asked by Stan about 4 years ago

No travelling until either player lifts a foot.

Is this over and back??? Ball in-bounds side frontcourt...ball is tipped in front court to backcourt where control is gained by the player who tipped it by a dribble(so there never was a possession in frontcourt) this over and back???

Asked by imaxfli over 4 years ago

An "over and back", or backcourt violation (not to be confused with a 10 second backcourt violation) can only occur when it is proceeded by the offensive team establishing possession in their front court. There is no possession on a throw in, which is why the offense can pitch it directly into the backcourt. In your scenario, there is a judgement call to be made: did the offensive player in a controlled way purposely tip the ball (implying control)? Or did the player tip the ball without control? Without control, it is not a backcourt violation to retrieve it.