Assignments - Referee Magazine, August 2004
Dave Hall, D-I men's basketball official from Colorado, has climbed the ladder
of officiating all the way to the Final Four (he worked this year's semifinal
between Duke and UConn). Along the way he has dealt with his share of horizontal
and vertical assignment opportunities.
"Without a doubt, the horizontal moves have to be avoided," he stresses. "Never,
ever decline a game to take another on the same level, especially in college
when you're working more than one conference. If such an opportunity does arise,
stay out of it. Leave your ego aside and let the two assigners discuss the
situation amongst themselves. There are plenty of stories of officials declining
one game to take another, only to have the assignor of the first game show up at
the second game or see it on television. When that happens, it's all over.
"For the vertical moves," Hall continues, "having an official be recognized for
advancement to a higher level is a feather in the cap of the lower level
assigner. It's a reflection of his or her training ability. So it would shock
me if that assigner wouldn't share in the joy of the officials' success and do
everything possible to help the official, provided of course, that the official
has been honest from the start.
"That is, without a doubt, the key for the official who wants to move up
properly and stay up, with the good schedule. Anything short of total honesty,
(your) career is done."
Keep in mind, though, that the assignor still has to fill that game. The
assigner may be happy that his or her officials are getting the opportunity to
work higher level games, but that doesn't negate the fact that he or she still
has a hole in the schedule. If it can't be filled, you are still responsible for
In that case, etiquette demands you honor your original commitment. In fact,
it's your business to do so.
Rich Winograd is a freelance writer and a high school basketball
official in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The Rules of Assignments and Turnbacks ... with John Magnusson
John Magnusson is a veteran NCAA Division I umpire, who also serves as president
of the Florida Collegiate Umpires Association. Referee asked John to look
through his mask and come up with the three strikes that would cost any sports
official an out when it comes to accepting and turning back games.
On Accepting or Declining Games
- Strike 1 - Failing to be honest. If what you're doing feels
slightly dishonest or deceptive, it is!
- Strike 2 - Failing to give a definitive answer to an assigner.
Don't leave the assigner with "maybe." That really means "no" anyway.
- Strike 3 - Failing to give yourself a reason to accept a game. It
can be any reason: money,a chance for advancement, etc. Don't take a
game just to take the game. That's not fair to yourself or the game
- Strike 1 - Failing to give a legitimate and truthful reason.
Injury or illness, pressure from your real job -- those are legitimate
reasons that any assigner will understand (he may not like it, but
- Strike 2 - Failing to realize that your actions create a domino
effect and cost a lot of people inconvenience and a lot of time,
energy and money.
- Strike 3 - Failing to understand that to climb the ladder an
official must pay the price. That comes from working the games that
you are assigned, whatever those games may be.