In 2015, referees didn’t fare so well. Now, most of the hate towards the officials came from football, where both the NFL and college football had their fair share of horrible calls that greatly affected the outcome of games.
Apparently, in 2016, basketball referees are out to prove that this is their year.
The latest incident all went down in South Dakota, in a women’s basketball game between Division II schools, Sioux Falls and Winona State.
Sioux Falls was trailing, 58-56, in the game’s final moments, before Taylor Varsho nailed a thirty-footer that seemingly give her team a 59-58 win. After the shot went down and all of the time on the clock appeared to have expired, Varsho’s teammates and other Sioux Falls students stormed the court to celebrate with her.
However, there was one problem. The game’s referees — with an assist from Winona State head coach Scott Ballard, who admitted to putting the “bug in their ear” — determined that Varsho’s shot did not come at the buzzer, but with 0.4 seconds remaining, and therefore the court storming from the Sioux Falls bench warranted a technical foul.
Winona State, given a second life, knocked down both free throws and escaped with a 60-59 victory.
The rule that the officials were using was this one, per the Star-Tribune:
“Team followers (fans, bands, cheerleaders and mascots associated with either team) shall not commit an unsportsmanlike act, including, but not limited to, the following … Delaying the game by preventing the ball from being promptly made live or by preventing continuous play, such as but not limited to, followers entering the playing court before the player activity has been terminated.”