Wednesday, October 16, 2019

D3Playbook: The Officiating Crisis

OCTOBER 16, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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>> Good Morning ... today we focus on the officiating crisis. It's not coming, it's here.

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1. DIII Commissioners to Study Officiating

As sports organizations nationwide address the issues of recruitment, treatment, and quality of officiating, the Division III Commissioners Association today announced it is partnering with The PICTOR Group​ to conduct a comprehensive study of this vital element of the student-athlete experience. The announcement was made by Joe Onderko, Commissioner of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and President of the DIIICA, and Patrick B. Summers, Executive Director of the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference and Chair of the DIIICA’s Officiating Subcommittee.

The subcommittee identified the desired outcome of this effort as “a strategic plan focusing the division on how to move forward in addressing what the commissioners believe is a crisis in officiating.” A large majority of Division III conferences are contributing funds from the NCAA Division III Strategic Initiatives Grant to launch the five-year strategic plan. “We are very grateful to the NCAA for grant funding for this project and for all the other programming the grant provides to Division III conferences,” added Onderko.

Among the research points of emphasis identified by the DIIICA Officiating Subcommittee are:
  • Provide a strategy to coordinate national efforts with Division I, II, III, NCAA Office and other constituency groups.
  • Examine potential barriers to becoming an official and direct impact of the reduction of interest in the profession.
  • Conceptualize a national plan for recruiting of officials.
  • Standardize minimum expectations for educational and training programs.
>> Why It Matters: “We have reached a critical time in collegiate athletics where there are not enough officials to work our games and there are not enough new officials being trained to address the shortage. The Division III Commissioners Association is bringing this challenge to our membership and the NCAA because it is something we need to address collaboratively and across all three divisions. I invite leaders of sport at all levels to engage with our effort and charge to recruit new officials, to create greater awareness about officiating to the general public, and to address other barriers within the profession." - Summers

>> Between The Lines: Phase One of the strategic plan is data collection that will produce a National Officiating Review document by mid-2020. The Pictor Group will work with a primary contact in each Division III conference office to gather data. Phase Two will produce a DIII Officiating Strategic Plan draft by September 2020 with an implementation goal of early 2021 through 2026.

>> Read More from the DIIICA

2. The NFL's Officiating Crisis
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Mason Crosby drilled a 23-yard FG as time expired to lead the Packers past the Lions, 23-22, on "Monday Night Football."
The controversy: Green Bay benefited from some questionable officiating, most notably 2 fourth-quarter penalties for illegal hands to the face against Detroit's Trey Flowers.
  • Poor officiating is a part of every sport, but since this was on national TV and featured some particularly egregious calls, the outrage is louder than usual.
What they're saying: ESPN's Booger McFarland was ripping the refs from the booth, and that same frustration was prevalent around the league:
  • Rams LB Clay Matthews: "The storyline for the 2019 season continues to be the refs inability to make the accurate and correct calls week in and week out. [NFL SVP of officating] Al Riveron continues to blindly side with his refs and the current status quo. Something must change! Zero accountability."
  • Bears CB Eddie Jackson: "These calls cost them the game I really can't believe what I just watched...smh."
A potential solution: This offseason, some coaches wanted to add a "Sky Judge" to the officiating crew — someone who could call down and fix calls that were obviously wrong.
  • But the NFL "didn't think it was feasible to give someone that kind of authority," ESPN's Kevin Seifert tweeted. "Might be worth a re-visit."
- courtesy of Axios Sports
3. Treating Officials Right

"Robert Breedlove, a 53-year high school football official, tells a sobering story.
“A couple years ago, a friend of mine was working a sub-varsity game,” Breedlove begins. “One of his first-year guys was with him, since you try to work veterans with less-experienced officials to help teach them. Well, this guy comes to my friend at halftime. I guess they’d had a rough first half.”
A pitiful fact about football and most youth sports: the younger the kids playing, the worse-behaved the adults watching. The adults direct their tantrums at the kids and at each other, but unleash their most juvenile outbursts at officials.
“The guy takes off his officiating hat. He takes off his whistle. He takes his flag out of his pocket,” Breedlove continues, “and he says, ‘Here. You can have these. I didn’t sign up for this.’ And the guy leaves the game.
“This gives you a thumbnail sketch of what’s going on in the world of officiating high school football. Whether it’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Tallahassee, Florida, or Bozeman, Montana, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s the same. That’s what’s going on. Referees are fleeing the profession."
>> Situational Awareness: There is a crisis in Texas. According to the Dallas Morning News, 80% of officials who quit the profession as recently as 2017 told the Texas Association of Sports Officials it was due to abusive behavior at games.

>> The Big Picture: Officiating recruits are fast-tracked to the varsity level, when ordinarily the rookies would get five years of sub-varsity duty first. Officials are asked to work varsity games Thursday and Friday, grade and middle school games Saturday, then junior varsity games Monday. This keeps games officiated, but at the cost of less-experienced, more-taxed crews that must keep up with faster-paced games.

>> Reality Check: The number one reason they did not return to officiating for their second year - pee-wee football. "Grade-school parents are right there on top of you. There’s no fear for them coming down to the field and yelling at you.They used to call them helicopter parents. Bulldozer parents might be more appropriate,” Breedlove says. “They bulldoze every obstacle, they think, to their child’s well-being. They’re out there to run the show, so to speak.”

>> The Final Word: Maybe they would act differently if there was no show to begin with.

>> Go Deeper with Guerin Emig, Tulsa World


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4. Polls
Soccer (M) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. Amherst (10-0-2)
  2. Calvin (13-1)
  3. Franklin & Marshall (12-1)
  4. Washington and Lee (9-1-2)
  5. Chicago (6-1-4)
  6. Oneonta (12-1)
  7. Kenyon (10-1)
  8. Claremont-M-S (9-2-1)
  9. Rensselaer (11-1-1)
  10. Catholic (12-1-1)
11. Connecticut College, 12. Tufts, 13. Roanoke, 14. Luther, 15. Johns Hopkins, 16. Ithaca, 17. Christopher Newport, 18. Messiah, 19. Ohio Northern, 20. Hardin-Simmons, 21. Central, 22. John Carroll, 23. North Park, 24. Penn State Behrend, 25. Rowan

>> Moving Up: Claremont-M-S (+14), Catholic (+9)
>> Moving Down: PSU-Behrend (-14), Tufts (-11), Central (-9)
>> Hello: Connecticut College, Ohio Northern, Rowan
>> Goodbye: Middlebury, Loras, Mary Washington

Soccer (M) -
  1. Amherst (9-0-2)
  2. Calvin (13-1)
  3. Kenyon (11-1)
  4. Oneonta (12-1)
  5. Franklin & Marshall (12-1)
  6. Washington and Lee (9-1-2)
  7. Tufts (8-2-2)
  8. Roanoke (11-0-2)
  9. Chicago (6-1-4)
  10. Johns Hopkins (9-2)
11. Connecticut College, 12. Messiah, 13. John Carroll, 14. Rensselaer, 15. Ithaca, 16. Christopher Newport, 17. Catholic, 18. Rowan, 19. Ohio Wesleyan, 20. Hardin-Simmons, 21. Mary Washington, 22. Mount Union, 23. Claremont-M-S, 24. Middlebury, 25. Bates.

>> Higher: Christopher Newport (+8), Ohio Wesleyan (+5)
>> Lower: Ithaca (-7), Tufts (-6)
>> In: Claremont-M-S, Bates
>> Out: PSU-Behrend, Cortland

Soccer (W) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. Middlebury (10-0-1)
  2. Messiah (11-1-1)
  3. William Smith (9-1-1)
  4. Washington-St. Louis (11-1-1)
  5. College of New Jersey (11-1)
  6. Johns Hopkins (8-1-4)
  7. Pomona-Pitzer (11-0-1)
  8. Christopher Newport (11-1-2)
  9. Wheaton, Ill. (12-1-1)
  10. MIT (11-1-2)
11. Centre, 12. Tufts, 13. Chicago, 14. Arcadia, 15. Geneseo, 16. Dickinson, 17. Rochester, 18. Otterbein, 19. St. Thomas, 20. Stevens, 21. New York U., 22. Trinity, Texas, 23. Ohio Northern, 24. Carnegie Mellon, 25. Williams. 

>> Moving Up: Otterbein (+3), Stevens (+3)
>> Moving Down: Christopher Newport (-5), NYU (-3), Trinity, Texas (-3)
>> Hello: Carnegie Mellon, Ohio Northern
>> Bye-Bye: Chicago, Wesleyan, Conn.

Soccer (W) -
  1. Middlebury (10-0-1)
  2. Messiah (11-1-1)
  3. College of New Jersey (11-1)
  4. Washington-St. Louis (11-1-1)
  5. William Smith (9-1-1)
  6. Wheaton, Ill. (12-1-1)
  7. Centre (15-0)
  8. Johns Hopkins (8-1-4)
  9. Pomona-Pitzer (11-0-1)
  10. Christopher Newport (11-1-2)
11. MIT, 12. Tufts, 13. Chicago, 14. Arcadia, 15. Washington and Lee, 16. Dickinson, 17. Randolph-Macon, 18. Trinity, Texas, 19. Williams, 20. Stevens, 21. Amherst, 22. Swarthmore, 23. Emory, 24. Otterbein, 25. Rochester.

>> Higher: Stevens (+4), Randolph-Macon (+3)
>> Lower: Christopher Newport (-7), Williams (-5)
>> In: Otterbein, Rochester
>> Out: Case Western, Gettysburg

Field Hockey - NFHCA
  1. Middlebury (11-0)
  2. College of New Jersey (11-0)
  3. Salisbury (11-1)
  4. Bowdoin (10-1)
  5. Franklin & Marshall (11-1)
  6. Tufts (9-2)
  7. Rowan (9-2)
  8. Williams (10-1)
  9. Vassar (10-2)
  10. Johns Hopkins (10-2)
11. Kean, 12. Ursinus, 13. Messiah, 14. Christopher Newport, 15. Bates, 16. Centre, 17. Colby, 18. Babson, 19. Lynchburg, 20. Montclair State. 

>> Moving Up: Kean (+5), F&M (+3)
>> Moving Down: Vassar (-4), Rowan (-3)

Volleyball - AVCA
  1. Emory (16-1)
  2. Calvin (15-1)
  3. Chicago (18-1)
  4. Carthage (20-1)
  5. Claremont-M-S (16-3)
  6. Colorado College (21-2)
  7. UW-Whitewater (18-3)
  8. Trinity, Texas (20-4)
  9. Johns Hopkins (20-0)
  10. Berry (17-4)
11. Ohio Northern, 12. Saint Benedict, 13. Tufts, 14. Juniata, 15. Carnegie Mellon, 16. Augsburg, 17. St. Thomas, 18. Johnston & Wales, R.I., 19. Muskingum, 20. Hope, 21. Transylvania, 22. Babson, 23. St. Olaf, 24. Wesleyan, Conn., 25. Susquehanna.

>> Moving Up: Johns Hopkins (+3), Trinity, Texas (+2)
>> Moving Down: Saint Benedict (-7), Berry (-4)

>> Hello: St. Olaf, Susquehanna
>> Goodbye: UW-Eau Claire, Wittenberg


5.  1 Nationals League

Nationals Park celebrates. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
The Washington Nationals "beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-4, to complete a four-game sweep in a National League Championship Series that was one-sided from the start" to claim the franchise's first World Series berth. (WashPost)
  • It's the city's first pennant since 1933 — way back when the Washington Senators won the American League.
D.C.'s not-so-split screen ... Bullfeathers, a historic watering hole on the House side of Capitol Hill, had originally intended to show both the game and the debate, but ended up just showing the game, AP's Ashraf Khalil reports.
The big picture: The last time a Washington team went to a World Series was in 1933, when the Washington Senators fell to the New York Giants. How different was the sports world then? Well…
  • There was no NBA.
  • There was no Heisman Trophy.
  • There was no NCAA basketball tournament.
  • There were no major league sports franchises west of St. Louis.
The front page of the Washington Post sports section on Sept. 22, 1933, the last time a D.C. team clinched the pennant...

- courtesy of Axios 
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