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Group looking at behavior in basketball

By Greg Johnson

An LLC tasked with overseeing men’s basketball officiating has developed a plan to address on-court sportsmanship and behavior of coaches and players in an effort to elevate the image of the sport and positively impact game environment.

The Men’s College Basketball Officiating Competition Committee’s plan was shared with the Division I Leadership Council on Thursday and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel the previous day. PROP is asking that all rules committees take a similar look at ways to improve the image of their respective sports.

Committee members hope to have the plan reviewed and supported by a wide constituency that includes NCAA presidents, conference commissioners, athletics directors, coaches, players and officials before implementation.

Committee members believe the current environment of Division I men’s basketball is eroding and hurting the image of the game. The committee believes NCAA competitions should be conducted with behavior typically associated with higher education.

The committee hopes to collaborate with the men’s basketball rules committee to specify clear, enforceable rules and directives for how officials should call unsportsmanlike conduct.

Committee members recognize most Division I men’s college basketball coaches behave respectfully. However, a few coaches create negative images for college basketball due to their behavior toward officials and their own players.

Committee members want to make sure that student-athletes control their actions toward officials, other players and fans.

The committee knows there must be complete buy-in from all stakeholders, including presidents, for officials to make calls without worrying about being criticized.

Some concepts being discussed include having automatic triggers for things such as:

  1. Comments directed at or referring to any game official that question the integrity or ability of the game official.
  2. Zero tolerance for profanity, obscenity, threatening or derogatory remarks directed at a game official or opposing player or personnel.

If the committee achieves the buy-in from key constituents, it hopes to implement the plan beginning with the 2012-13 season.