Just when I thought I had seen everything involving a high school BB referee…

A night in stripes: High school basketball referees are in it for love of  the game | High Schools | theadvocate.com

To my basketball officiating friends and colleagues, I guarantee that what you’re about to read will floor you, stun you, have you shaking your head in disbelief.

I’ll get to that, but first, here’s a portion of a FOX 6 Milwaukee Investigation from a few months ago on the issue the WI Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) calls a “crisis.”
OK. There’s a numbers calamity. That’s indisputable.

But in my view there’s more to it. And nobody is talking about it.

Athletic associations are so panicked and are so desperate that they will resort to signing up whatever bodies they can, anyone with a pulse or heartbeat. Anyone.

Can you sense what major problem that creates?

No one is talking about the diminished quality in today’s officials.

I don’t want more officials. I want more qualified officials. We need them.

Case in point.

On Tuesday night I was the timer for a junior varsity boy’s basketball game between St. Augustine and Salaam at St. Augustine.

Very close game with lots of lead changes.

With 1.7 seconds left in the game a St. Augustine player was fouled. Trailing by one point the St. Augustine player had two free throws. You knew what was coming.

The young boy missed the first free throw.

And then, sure enough.


Game tied.

Clock runs out.

We’ve got (damn it) overtime.

Two floor officials worked the game. I will cleverly call them OFFICIAL A and OFFICIAL B. Both are veterans, we’ve worked with them many times, are easy to work and get along with.

As the teams returned to their benches, A and B walked over to the scorer’s table. I spoke out loud to neither official in particular, informing I hadn’t worked an OT game in a long time, and wanted to find out the exact time for the OT period.

“Three minutes? Four?” I asked.

Without hesitation OFFICIAL A emphatically stated “NINE.”

“Nine” I replied with a tone of, “Are you crazy?”

“NINE. It’s nine in high school.”

“It’s not nine” I shot back.

“It’s nine in high school.”

“It’s never been nine.”

“It’s nine in high school.”

It was at this point I looked OFFICIAL A straight in the face and told him in no uncertain terms, “Well I’m not putting nine on the board.”

My partner, the official scorer was Mike Wenzel, a veteran scorer and timer who also worked many years as a basketball floor official. He interjected, and it was genius.

“I’d really like to see that in a rule book that the overtime period for high school is nine minutes.”

OFFICIAL A made a beeline for the locker room, we assume to consult a rule book.

He wasn’t coming out.
He wasn’t coming out.

And he wasn’t coming out.

What about OFFICIAL B?

“I have to support may partner,” he said, before telling us he was headed to the locker room to see what was going on.

Both officials eventually returned, whereupon I was forced to ask since neither said anything, “So what am I putting up on the clock?”

OFFICIAL B: “Four minutes.”

OFFICIAL A: “Four minutes. But it’s supposed to be nine.”

Now, any basketball fan will tell you there’s no way in Hell OT is 9 minutes. In college it’s 5 for heaven’s sake.

I asked not one but two floor officials about the OT rule. Both told me in WI it’s 4 minutes.

And yet a veteran official insisted numerous times at a game I worked this week that it was 9, and never acknowledged he was wrong in his total disrespect of the table officials.

Admittedly, I’m a lone wolf in pushing for more qualified officials.

Yeh, Kevin, but we have openings to fill. If we are too picky, we’ll never solve this problem.

My plea will go NOWHERE. Still, I make no apologies for setting the bar standards high.

Let’s suppose someday we fix the big problem of the shortage of officials. What have we solved? I submit not that much. The kids, teams, schools, and coaches all lose.

4 thoughts on “Just when I thought I had seen everything involving a high school BB referee…

  1. With respect, you’re reaction of “are you crazy?” is the reason we have a quality and quantity shortage. Players and fans are taught at a young age the absolutely zero respect needs to be given to officials. It’s all “part of the game.”


  2. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (12/06/21) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  3. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs of 2021 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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