NCAA Basketball: Hey Refs, How 'Bout A Little Consistency?

By Jason Love
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I am sitting here watching the Kentucky Wildcats play the South Carolina Gamecocks, and John Calipari just got his second technical and was ejected from the game. Calipari probably wanted to get kicked out and it just so happened the Wildcats cut the lead to five. But, this isn’t an article on the Kentucky vs. South Carolina game.

When Calipari was ejected, I immediately started laughing at how inconsistent referees are when it comes to technical fouls and ejections. Earlier in the day, I watched Mick Cronin of the Cincinnati Bearcats cuss and challenge the referees in the Bearcats’ game against the Connecticut Huskies. Cronin was constantly yelling at the refs while being at least seven feet on the court, or ten feet past the coach’s box, or all the way to the cheerleaders along the baseline. Cronin didn’t receive one technical foul all game long, and he berated the referees all game long. Cronin did receive about 15 warnings though, and a face to face confrontation with referee Ted Valentine.

Connecticut Huskies’ coach Kevin Ollie simply looked on in shock. He had been kicked out of a game against Louisville just a few weeks earlier for maybe a tenth of what Cronin got away with today. It’s a good thing the Huskies won, or Ollie may have completely lost it.

I am not defending the behavior of college basketball coaches. Calipari deserved his ejection, as did Ollie, as do most coaches who get ejected. But, how on earth do the coaches know where the line is when one coach can get ejected for saying two or three words, while Cronin practically wrote a book of profanity today.

What any coach wants from a referee is consistency. Referees have been better with consistency this season even with the defensive rule changes. Let’s hope they put an emphasis on what constitutes a technical foul during the offseason, and make a point to get consistent on when they call it.

By the way, Kentucky just lost 72-67.


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