From the Braintrust
By David Keech
April 15, 2019
Abbotsford— More is better, but definitely not when it comes to officiating basketball.
High school basketball in Wisconsin has seen a big increase in the number of three person officiating crews, something that was looked at as an improvement. The reasons are simple.
In the postseason, the WIAA mandates that all games are officiated by a three person crew, but in order for officials to be eligible to officiate in the postseason, they must have enough games officiated in the regular season in a three person officiating crew. Fair enough, it’s not officials’ fault for working games in threes.
Problem is, I’m not convinced three basketball referees do a better job than two officials. In fact, it’s been my experience that three officials often do a far worse job than two person crews.
Actually, I don’t think it’s even close.
Far too often, whether it be from the view of a fan in the stands, scorer’s table, or as a reporter from a front row perspective, I see too many missed calls that a 3 person crew is supposed to take care of.
Yes, I have officiated games at the middle school and junior high level, and I readily admit there are calls I miss. However, I don’t see a third official on the court making all that much of a difference.
What makes it worse at the college level is seeing all of the reviews that cause officials to go over to the scorer’s table and watch replays. The delays in the flow of the game continue to mount, with no end seemingly in sight.
Another reason for basketball to go back to two person crews is one we’ve been seeing build, and that is a shortage of officials. This year, I witnessed multiple occasions where a three person crew worked both ends of a girls/boys doubleheader, something that would have been unheard of years ago. The shortage, however, has necessitated the change. Having crews of three officials often working games puts a strain on officials’ availability.
From the view of the Braintrust, basketball should go back to two person crews.