Just give us a break

The “poor refereeing bug” that has plagued many of the NFL’s referees throughout the playoffs has spread and hit very close to home for many Portland State basketball fans. This critical disorder causes referees to forget the rules of the game and instead depend on their gut feeling to blow their whistle and make many calls for them. I witnessed this firsthand when the Vikings women’s team beat Montana State on Saturday.

Missed call after missed call and just simply poor officiating occurred during the whole game. The Big Sky referees were terrible Saturday afternoon. At times they overlooked the most obvious infractions and for their efforts received a flurry of boos from the crowd. Instead of being a non-factor in the outcome of the game, at times it seemed they were the only factor.

Incorrect calls were enforced on both teams throughout the game. However, a considerable amount more were called on the Vikings. It wouldn’t have been so awful but the calls were obvious, even for a non-fan. For example, an over-the-back foul was completely missed late in the game as a Montana State player literally clawed up the back of a Portland State player. Everyone in the Stott Center observed this except for the three officials on the floor. No whistles were blown and instead the ball was given to the Bobcats to inbound.

Another example occurred during the second half when a Bobcats player tipped the ball, causing it to bounce across the half-court line. When a Portland State player touched it to regain possession a backcourt infraction was called against PSU.

This insufficient caliber of refereeing just isn’t fair to the players, coaches or fans. Teams prepare for days to go out and perform. Players are working for hours to learn every facet of their opponent’s game so they can come out and dominate. However, this opportunity is being deprived due to a lack of quality referees and pedestrian officiating. Fans come to the game to watch athletes play and amaze them with their astonishing talent. Instead they end up complaining about either poor or completely missed calls throughout the game.

Players should be able to play and feel confident that if they are fouled or commit a foul it will be called regardless of who is officiating the game. In addition, fans should be able to watch the games they love without hearing whistles every few seconds or worrying about miscalls affecting the outcome of the game.

I will give the referees the benefit of the doubt and say the majority of their calls are correct, but the ones that are clearly wrong outweigh the correct calls when the game is on the line. As a sports fan I certainly wouldn’t blame a loss on a team if there were a terrible call that had some impact on the outcome.

The first comment I would make about a loss is that it would be different if that call never happened or there should have been a call against the opponent on this play or that play. It is just the nature of a sports fan, and I recognize that the officials are in a tough position but that is what they get paid for.

They should be able to watch the game and make the correct calls. I can do it from my couch or seat in the stands – it isn’t that difficult if you know the rules. A referee is bound to make a bad call every now and then, but not five or six times during a game like Saturday’s match with Montana State.

Maybe these referees don’t spend enough time examining the rulebook or are not as familiar with the sport as they should be. Another possibility is that they really don’t care because this isn’t their day job and they aren’t getting paid enough to dedicate themselves. All I know is this is completely unreasonable, especially for the players on the floor.

They spend too much time practicing for a game to fall victim to an array of terrible calls and overall measly officiating. It just isn’t fair and the Big Sky should really clean this up in a hurry or they will see a severe decline in attendance and players wanting to play at their schools. Get rid of the refs that don’t know what they are doing and continuously make incorrect calls, and in turn you will get rid of the complaining.

After all, we shouldn’t become acquainted with the referees to the point that we remember them for their terrible officiating days after the game. They shouldn’t be a factor in the game if they do their jobs right, therefore we shouldn’t even know they are there.

The best games are the games where you can’t remember who the officials were 10 minutes later, because if we are talking about them there is a definite problem. The Vikings were lucky they overcame the poor officiating Saturday against the Bobcats. Next time, well, that’s up to the refs.