Girls basketball officials at center of debate

SIDELINES

January 24, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

Let's start this smorgasbrowse with some reaction to my Top 10 of Anne Arundel County High School Sports Officials that appeared on Wednesday.

Several callers to the 24-Hour Sportsline (410) 647-2499 commented on girls basketball officials, who didn't crack the Top 10, and several more agreed that the Anne Arundel umpires are truly tops.

"The big problem with the girls officials is that they don't realize how good the girls are and that they can make plays they [refs] think they can't make," said one caller.

"If we called every foul we saw, the games [the seemingly endless JV girls games] would last three times as long," said a caller who identified himself as a girls basketball official. "We just try to call the major fouls."

Veteran referee Greg March identified himself, and several of his points are well-taken.

"I don't know of any of our officials who hold a grudge or are arrogant," said March. "But I think there is animosity on the part of the coaches toward us, and I don't know why."

March said he was shocked when he showed up to work a girls varsity game at one school for the first time and the coach wouldn't shake his hand before the game.

"I don't know what she was mad at me about," said March. "I only saw her once last year, and this was the first time this year. We do have a lot of dedicated individuals in our group and many of us even went to an officials' camp this summer at Mount St. Mary's."

March said one of the main reasons there often seems to be an excessive number of fouls called in the girls games, particularly on the JV level, is because of the coaches.

"The coaches predicate the calls wanting us to call everything," March said. "Girls JV games are ugly. It's bang 'em up, hack 'em up, and I've seen games where our officials could have easily called another 20 to 25 fouls, but I do think some of our new officials are calling too many touch fouls."

March says his group has lost some good officials to boys basketball, because it pays more and the games are later, making it easier to get there after work.

I rated the boys basketball officials No. 4 in my Top 10, but they, too, have problems, and as Old Mill athletic director Jim Dillon said in Wednesday's column, the lines of communication between officials and coaches/athletic directors need to be opened.

I witnessed a blatant lack of communication after the Old Mill at Annapolis boys game Wednesday night. Old Mill coach Paul Bunting wasn't happy with a couple of things during his team's 77-44 loss to the fourth-ranked Panthers and wanted to discuss it with the officials in the locker room afterward.

The two officials who worked the game would not give Bunting the time of day. They made the coach talk to them through the glass window of the room where they had showered and dressed.

All Bunting wanted to know was how he could get a clarification of the rule he was questioning, and they wouldn't even open the door and talk to the man. They made him shout through the window.

"They told me they have been told not to discuss anything with coaches after the games," said Bunting.

* On the way to its first winning season since 1979, isn't it a shame to hear that Arundel probably is going to lose steady 5-foot-9 junior guard William Leeks to a California transfer?

Leeks' family is moving back to the West Coast, but he is expected to finish this season with the Wildcats.

* Did you know that there is another Osborne on the way to the Glen Burnie basketball team?

Senior Gopher star Vernon Osborne has a younger brother, Damian, who has a lot of potential, in the sixth grade at Corkran Middle School.

* Have you heard that ex-St. Mary's basketball player Kevin Carter, who went on to star at Loyola College in Baltimore and later got a tryout with the Washington Bullets, now is representing NFL Properties in New York? It's Carter's job to make sure coaches such as Jimmy Johnson of Dallas wear only NFL-licensed clothing on national TV.

* Did you know that Crofton resident Rick Moreland is VP of the Washington Bullets' Baltimore operation?

* Isn't it great to hear that Annapolis High grad Megan Nicolini won her gymnastics floor debut last week against Oklahoma State and that the Nebraska freshman is maintaining a 3.1 GPA?

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