Boti's article about NBL referees
Having read Boti's latest article and noticing the avalanche of criticism towards the refs lately (just visit any game thread), I thought this would be an interesting discussion.
There has been talk around the issue such as the type of game style we want umpired or how to deal with flopping & charges.
I'm interested in framing the discussion around this question:
How should the NBL approach giving rules & referees a direction and ensuring a strong consistent standard?
I say this noting a few quotes from Boti's article
At the 2013 preseason Blitz in Sydney, coaches and players alike were horrified as the transition began. I recall Mark Worthington after a game pointedly asking: "Are we playing netball now?"
Year One was a bit that way for a while but there was clear, defined direction from the referee leadership.
By Year Two (2014-15) there was tacit acceptance and adjustment as the game became far more attractive to watch
But those of us in the media already are abundantly aware how sensitive the NBL is to any sort of criticism or outspoken behaviour
A few points to consider:
#1 There is always criticism - sometimes it's justified, sometime's it's just players being players, coaches being coaches and fans being fans
#2 NBL appears to have an aversion to criticism
#3 There doesn't seem to be consistent refereeing nor accountability for bad ref games
#4 The direction at this point for lack of the NBL releasing a statement, can only be loosely interpreted by fans through what they see... and there doesn't appear to be anything for the NBL to point to when dealing with criticism by players or coaches
If I was the NBL, I would be establishing a process involving an independent referee advisory panel with a head referee and games allocated to refs on the basis of consistency and standard.
The NBL along with the panel establish and release a direction with the objectives/justifications behind them. Ie. Objective of a more entertaining game style with a direction in allowing offence space.
Actually outlining this will give them reason to put clarity into rules such as calling handchecking, defence out of place, defenders flopping & making no-calls where there is advantage to offence etc.
It's important to ensure the rules aren't too wishywashy, perhaps there is a basic procedure which may be best aided with post-game review for things like flopping or techs.
Ideally, each aspect informs eachother: Objectives inform direction which informs rules which informs the refs. Where the refs are wrong or inconsistent they can be trained to improve based on the direction.
Where the coaches or players complain they can be pointed back to the direction chosen.
At the end of the day, it's one thing to have rules that are umpired, it's another thing to do it in a professional league where the standard demands the degree and nuance to which rules are applied is consistent across the board.