Monday, February 2, 2009

On Elbows and Officiating

Yes, it is officially Bitch About Officiating Week in Ann Arbor. I may be late to the party, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to get whatever is left out of this Keg of Fury.

UM Hoops combed through the NCAA basketball rulebook and emerged with this:
Art. 7. When during the course of play, an individual strikes an opponent with the hand, elbow, arm, foot, knee or leg in a non-confrontational manner but the act is excessive or severe, it shall be ruled as a flagrant foul and not a fighting action. When a defined body part is used to strike an opponent but the contact is not severe or excessive, a judgment shall be made by the official as to whether the contact is intentional.
Watch these two plays, both from recent Big Ten games, and tell me which one constitutes a flagrant foul, as defined above. Hint: intention is very, very key.

1. Enormous white dude, Wisconsin (I'm pretty sure they clone these guys):

2. Manny Harris, Michigan:

Um, what? I expected to see CBS flash a giant "FINISH HIM" graphic after that Krabbenhoft pick/deliberate elbow to the face. Meanwhile, Chris Kramer (the guy who Manny elbowed), had this to say after the game (link via MGoBlog):
"Some people can say there are dirty plays in basketball, but I wouldn't go there and say that definitely was a dirty play," Kramer said. "He might have been frustrated, but it was just a basketball play."
What frustrates me even more than the level of incompetence among Big Ten officials (high) is the fact that the team that gets the calls is totally predictable. Krabbenhoft was at home: pick garners cheers, no foul. Harris was on the road: fans cry bloody murder, obvious personal foul call turns into intentional facial mutilation.

Am I crazy to think there's something very wrong when it is openly acknowledged that a large part of "home-court advantage" is the fact that the refs will give you 80% of the borderline calls? Booing every call against your team is not an obnoxious trait of an ignorant fan; it's a surefire way to help your team win.

[Steps off soap box, grabs lunch before punching hole in apartment wall]

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