Assignors have told us there are three principles to follow when officiating a game if they want us to support them to complaining coaches: 1) Make sure you are right, and that your call can be substantiated with the rule book. 2) Make sure it shows up on the video. (We are always being videoed by somebody somewhere and as I've mentioned before, the tape doesn't lie.) and 3) Make sure your call fits the game. This last one is the gray that gets a lot of younger officials trouble. For example, if the entire game, the three-second rule hasn't been called and its been marginally extended to a four second allowance for the first 59 minutes of the game, we would not be supported by our Supervisors if we called three-seconds in the last minute of the game and it cost a team a basket to which they lost. Yes by rule it was right and yes it would show up on tape, but the inconsistency of the coaches thinking this was a non-issue for fifty-nine minutes and then to be penalized in the last minute is not fair. The Assignor cannot support us.
Because I knew the rules very well, a lot of "camp is camp" shit happened to me while doing games for middle and high school. In this group, the officials average 80/100 on the tests and the coaches average 60/100. I averaged 97/100. So coaches were not used to an official knowing more than they do. One play in which a young man courageously hustled to save a ball going out of bounds, leaped in the air like a gazelle with such speed he grabbed the ball and tossed it backwards over his shoulder with a high arc to which his teammate caught it and threw it up for two points as I blew the whistle. Violation. The ball happened to go over the top of the backboard from out of bounds to in bounds which by rule states if a ball goes over the backboard in any direction, it is considered out of bounds. I had a hard time explaining that to the coach as it doesn't make sense that if a ball is coming from out of bounds via the air how is it considered out of bounds if it never touched the floor or anything/anybody out of bounds first? He didn't want to have to tell his player that the great play he had just made wasn't legal. Shit happens.
In fact this rule was made by coaches after the NCAA tournament game in which the winning basket was scored by a play that was designed to impede the defense. Team B was behind by one point, after a time out they set up an inbound throw-in from under the basket with one second left in the game. They threw the ball up over the backboard and team B's teammate caught the ball in the air and dunked it into the hoop. They won! At the end of the year, the coaches got together and agreed this was a non-defendable play and changed the rules. Now if the ball goes over the top of the backboard in EITHER direction, it is considered out of bounds. These are those times where you just know the rule and trying to explain it to a coach of a kid who just made one of the most heart felt plays of his life sounds like you're making it up. Camp is camp.
The referee friends that I had and I would call each other on the way home and do "post game" with each other. During the first three years or so I had many many stories to tell similar to this one. My one friend would say, "BJ. If shit can happen, it happens to you." I agreed with him 100% and I finally figured out that shit actually happens to every referee in every game. Its just that I noticed all the shit and I know the rules. I would say that 95% of the people who referee don't know these "bizarre" rules because they haven't read all five books cover to cover. The right thing to do is if you are in charge of something, to be the most knowledgeable about whatever it is you are in charge of. Eventually coaches began to trust me and know that I could back up what I had said. I can't tell you how many rule books I gave away to AAU and middle school coaches to educate them.
During my last three years officiating, when we would call each other we would often ask how each others games went and our standard answer became "WI." Without Incident. These were the games we had worked so hard to be able to have. WI were normal, no shit good games. It got to be so standard that we dreaded going back to camp. As we knew that we could have 100 WI games and the first game in front of a supervisor that we wanted to get hired by, some fifteen year old would do some move or play we had never seen before and we'd be shocked by seeing this particular play for the first time.
Click here to see the list of camps. Camp is the big business behind the officiating business. This list shows 280 camps alone. Each camp can net any supervisor between $20k and $65k per camp.