Officiating has reached all-time low

April 9, 2019

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

It’s raining opinions.

n Has officiating across the realm of athletics descended to a new low during the 2018-2019 sports year?

I fervently believe so.

Just look around the landscape. It has occurred both locally and on national stages. That’s what makes this situation so troubling.

Let’s start with a noteworthy missed call locally. Remember Marshall’s Thundering Herd losing to Toledo, 75-74, in overtime at Cam Henderson Center? Those in attendance will recall the game never should have gone into overtime.

That’s because Marshall’s record-setting Jon Elmore attempted a very makeable, head-on 3-pointer just before the end of regulation. Toledo’s Jaelan Sanford was defending on the play and obviously fouled Elmore.

When the official, who was on top of the play, swallowed his whistle and didn’t call a foul, Elmore’s mouth flew up in shock. If the official had called the obvious foul, Elmore would have received three foul shots. He would have had to made only one to give Marshall a 66-65 win in regulation.

That happened on December 8.

It was the tip of the iceberg.

The poor officiating virus went viral from that point.

Remember the blatant missed pass interference call that led to the Los Angeles Rams’ 26-23 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game?

It gave the Rams a berth in the Super Bowl that Los Angeles didn’t deserve. And, on the other hand, purloined the Saints’ spot in the Super Bowl that New Orleans deserved.

The missed call was so egregious the NFL voted in new, enhanced instant-replay legislation during the off-season in hopes of keeping such an obvious gaffe from happening again.

It was universally agreed that this missed call was the worst in NFL officiating history.

Well, guess what.

The worst missed call in NCAA Tournament basketball history more than likely happened Saturday in the final seconds of Virginia’s 63-62 last-second win over Auburn in the Final Four.

The Cavaliers were trailing, 62-60, with seconds remaining when UVa’s Ty Jerome tried to go behind his back from left hand to right with his dribble. The problem is he bounced the ball off the heel of his right sneaker.

Then, Jerome recovered the loose ball with two hands and resumed his dribble. Ah, there’s the problem. It was a blatant double-dribble in the middle of the court and the official on top of the play missed the call.

That led to Virginia’s Kyle Guy getting legitimately fouled on a 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.6 seconds remaining. He calmly swished all three foul shots, giving UVa a 63-62 win.

It also gave the Cavs a berth in the national championship game Monday night against Texas Tech that Virginia clearly didn’t deserve.

Is this what officiating in America has become?

Sadly, it is.

And it’s a very, very big problem.

n Players in Marshall and WVU’s basketball programs paid special attention to the national championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech Monday night.

That’s because Marshall played UVa during the regular season, losing 100-64 in Charlottesville. And it’s because WVU played Texas Tech three times. The Mountaineers lost 62-59 and 81-50 to Tech during the regular season, but then won, 79-74, in the second round of the Big 12 tournament.

It’s an interesting distinction for the state of West Virginia’s only two NCAA Division I basketball programs.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.