BYU basketball: WCC refs deserve a raise

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Officials restrain Eric Mika
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Officials restrain Eric Mika /

In two games this last week against Saint Mary’s and University of the Pacific, BYU basketball fans had plenty of complaints about officiating. So here’s my solution: pay them more.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, BYU basketball fans: WCC referees don’t exactly have the best reputation.

Some people are extremely adverse to talk about officiating. Maybe it’s part of sportsmanship. Often it’s because the exercise of it never helps anything—it certainly never makes the refs any better. Some have that “that’s not what loses you the game” mentality.

And to a certain extent, Jacks is right. Most of the time, your level of officiating doesn’t determine the outcome of the game. And when it does, there are internal systems in place to censure officials for particularly poor performance.

But while they don’t often cause a loss, they can sure make a game miserable to watch and play in. And while horrendous officiating is addressed, merely very bad refs are tolerated. Because after all, who else are you going to get?

So what’s the solution? Pony up

News flash: refs in small leagues like the WCC don’t exactly make bank.

They get paid per game, and often don’t get expenses paid like the big conferences do. They also probably make a lot less than the $2000 per game or so you’d expect in the ACC or SEC. Most referees in small conferences can’t even do it full time. So you can’t expect them to have the same level of quality as a big league, or especially the NBA.

So pay them like they are.

It’s kind of similar to the situation with teachers in public schools. The quality of education suffers when talented people who would normally be teachers instead decide to be pharmaceutical rep or a data scientist for a corporation, because they don’t like prowling the grocery story for discounted baked goods and living in 600 sq. ft. condos, only to go to work and be treated like dirt.

If the pay were better, the competition would be better. And in sports, as in life, competition promotes improvement, and talent rises to the top.

Basketball is the most important, prominent product of the West Coast Conference. And if more people enjoy watching it because the refs just blend into the background, more cash for everybody.

If that were to happen, maybe situations like make up calls, preferential treatment, or sending the wrong person to the free throw line could be avoided. If nothing else, it would have for a far less painful week for BYU basketball fans and players alike.