I have watched eight games this season in the Men's NCAA Tournament. That's way below my average, for obvious reasons. My time was split between there and the Women's NCAA Tournament. One thing, however, has become painfully clear. The officiating, which was once questionable in NCAA Basketball, has now become the single biggest joke of the tournament.
That's on both sides, by the way. Brittney Griner sits home from the NCAA Final Four due, in no small part, to that fact. I am no Griner apologist, she let the game get away from her strengths, and the Louisville Cardinals used her as a tackling dummy. The officials, however, let it become more of a boxing match than a basketball game. It was not the only one. Last night's Louisville - Wichita State game came down to a less than honorable call as well. Not that Louisville did not earn the win, mind you, the officials simply let their mistakes contribute to the outcome. This should never be the case, especially not in a Final Four game where a Cinderella team needed the game to be called fairly.
The NCAA officials and their lack of professional training and pride in their chosen profession have called every contest I have watched this season into question. Their calls may not determine the outcome in all cases, but if I have seen one game turn on a referee's whistle tweet (or in most cases, the lack thereof), I have seen 100.
Why does the NCAA continue to allow this to happen? In an age where Mark Emmert spends 20 minutes rambling about all the wonderful things that the NCAA is doing to improve college athletics, why can the NCAA not simply acknowledge that they have a problem and address it?
This effects everyone. Every player, team, coach, and fan out there has been effected by asinine calls this season. They go across all sports, although the ones played out on national TV certainly are much more obvious. Emmert and the NCAA decided that Penn State was not only guilty but complicit in their handling of the Jerry Sandusky matter. They stated that because Penn State ignored the obvious goings on and allowed Sandusky to continue in his position and to continue to work with young men, even after he was known to have a problem they helped make the problem worse. While the NCAA is not protecting child molesters, how is their handling of their officiating any different in it's progression?
If an alcoholic needs to get sober, they have to first admit they have a problem. Same thing for a drug addict. It is the same for any situation that is no longer tenable for the people involved. Admit there is a problem, then address it. Find a solution, and take the appropriate measures. Don't spend your time ignoring it and hoping it goes away. You cannot claim ignorance when the problem is staring you in the face.
Mark Emmert wants to clean up college athletics, he has made no bones about it. He wants the universities to do things the right way when it come to recruiting, and running clean programs. How about the NCAA takes their own advice?