BEHIND THE WHISTLE

Technology Era

Shot Clock

The shot clock does not apply at the high school level but has been instituted at higher levels to control the pace of the game. For an official, this has instituted another aspect to the game of which the officials must be aware. Shot clock violations offer a dimension to these games that require additional mechanics and the clock itself must be observed to determine if a shot had been attempted prior to the expiration of time.

Red Lights

Not just for stop lights, red lights have been instituted at various levels as a component of the backboard. They are in place to be synced with the expiration of the clock - both game and shot clock. These allow for officials to see the release of the ball more accurately at the time the clock has expired to determine if a shot has been attempted prior the expiration of time.

Video Review

The newest technological component to the game, video monitors have been instituted at various levels so that officials may review replays in order to make the most accurate call. Video monitors may not be used for all types of plays and each league denotes the instances in which officials may use the video monitors to review plays. While is has been a positive addition to the game in some instances, it also still has its flaws. Not only does its use interrupt the pace and momentum of the game but in cases where it is not allowed it may show the inaccuracy of a call. In this case, it often becomes the focus of the media and brings about the debate as to which instances it should be available for use. Likewise, due to the ease of access in placing video cameras throughout the facility, replays can show angles at which officials may not be able to see. For instance, in the 2012 Big Ten Championship game, there was a basket interference play that was not called on the court. However, the replay angle coming from above the basket clearly showed that the ball was within the frame of the cylinder and directly above the basket - an angle at which an official clearly could not have seen.

Mic'd Up

One of the most interesting technological features and probably least relevant to officiating the game is the idea of putting a microphone on officials. This is used more for administrative purposes and to gain insider access to conversations that occur on the court. For officials, it can't really help you but does bring about the ability to come under scrutiny.

Film Review

While video review may have a give-and-take situation during a game, it is a huge benefit to officials while off the court. To get to the next level in officiating, it is imperative for officials to break down film. In doing so, they reveiw the game and specific plays that are of higher difficulty. It is a value for officials to see themselves at work and evaluate the way they call the game. Likewise, seeing more and more plays allows officials to better prepare themselves for games in the future by understanding situations and being in the right positions to make the call.