On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 17, 2014 #480 Up next…6 on a Side?
After further review…The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball tournament brackets were announced yesterday, and we hope your T*E*A*M was among them. If not, you may wonder why, since so many “at-large” teams are now invited to the dance—some with less than-glamorous playing records. We will eventually arrive at the Final Four in early April, but the road there—to the delight of millions of the fervent—travels through March Madness!
This week’s theme is “6 on a Side”, suggested by the fact that so many of the NCAA coaches occupy court space during games, either exhorting their players or yelling at the officials for their “dreadful” officiating. The NCAA has a rule against being on the court, so why do we so many coaches break it? One answer may be that the team benches are so close to the boundary lines that when a coach gets up out of his seat, he’s practically on the floor.
Having had the privilege of playing, coaching, and officiating college basketball for over three decades, I can understand a coach’s frustrations. College basketball has changed significantly along with the growth of its players. Today’s game is played largely “above the rim” which is inherently more difficult to officiate. (I found my coaching experience helpful to my officiating perspective, but those worlds don’t intercept much anymore.)
A noted coach recently said “Basketball is an emotional game, and others are asking you to be unemotional”. No coach, we’re not. But we are asking that you exercise enough self-control to stay off the court. The sanctity of basketball depends on a conduct framework for the game that allows coaches to voice their displeasure with a call (or no-call), as long as they do it with civility—hmm, there’s that word again.
Game officials are more than ever under the constant scrutiny of fans through the myriad eyes of personal devices that see everything and communicate instantly. Indeed, viewers now see more of the intricacies of the game than ever before. Today’s coach is typically a sophisticated analyst of all that information and data. Many coaches have said “I do my coaching before the game, and with a proper game plan I can sit down and enjoy my players and the game better”.
Will you log-in with your opinion about the behavior of today’s college coaches?
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