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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sun Nov 26, 2000, 09:41pm
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I would just like to hear some opinions on a situation that is currently a part of the basketball officiating world in my area. By discussing this I mean no offense to anyone, nor does this situation affect me personally at this time. This is not a post in anger.

It is known in the state JuCo ranks that "white guys are a dime a dozen". I quote that because it came from a commissioner of a decent sized conference. At the camps, meetings, etc., this opinion is well known. The last JuCo tryout that was held, all officials that were picked up were black males or females. The reason for this is to get more of a mix in the officiating business. I definitely can see their point with this reasoning. My problem with this is, are the best officials getting promoted? Another question that concerns me is, what does this say to the up and coming official (myself) about staying persistent and working towards the JuCo goal?

Please don't respond to this with "get over it" type replies. I'm genuinely curious to know if this is an issue in all areas or am I a part of a unique situation.

Thanks for your thoughts...
  #2 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 12:41am
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Cool Fair question

As I have said before I am a Black male. I have gotten opportunities moving to the Chicago area that I probably would not have gotten if I was not Black. Now I am talking about HS, but I have been told that certain conferences want Black officials in them. I was even told by a white coach (all his players are Black except for one), that he wanted me to do his games and would recommend me to the assignor. The assignor appartly does not have very many Black officials in the conference and he was not happy about it. This coaches school has a huge tournament during the Christmas break, and they will not allow the assignor to handle it because he does not hire many Black officials. I guess it is about appearences and the viewing of intergrity. I did a tournament on Wednesday that had an all Black team with a Black coach. They were the only one in the entire tournament and I was under the impression that one of the reasons I did the game because I was Black. My partner was Black also.

The game has in many cases, especially at the highest of levels mostly Black players and a growing number of coaches. I think like the women's side, they want people officiating the game that reflect the participants in the game. Now, that can be a debate of whether or not that is fair, but that seems to be the reasoning. I know that I do not get the opportunity in some cases because I am Black and that I really do not care about. Each league is different and each level is different. But I do feel that this is a great question and should be discussed, because I have been told in no uncertain terms that me being a Black official, I would move up really fast. But I do believe that I must be good in order to do that. I do know that in women's college, I have heard several assignors tell me that, if it was a choice between the good male officials and the good women's official, they would choose the women offical. And at least in that case, I do not disagree. There are women playing the game, not men.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 10:56am
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Definitely a sensitive subject, society wide, not just in officiating. I think that basketball creates some very different situations, as jrut points out. Many teams that are exclusively, or almost exclusively black. There is also a whole different structure of teams that are female, creating a division of the genders that doesn't occur in the workplace. As long as the criteria remain what jrut says, GOOD official, there is bound to be some adjusting of demographics in officiating, largely due to the fact that officiating has been traditionally a white male profession with under representation by females and minorities. As a white male, I face that same adjustment process at times.

I serve in the Navy, a traditional bastion of white male leadership. Promotion boards must, by rule, list the highest scoring female that was not promoted as well as the highest scoring minority. The boards have never had to defend their choice not to select me. I accept it as a fact of life, and go on trying to do my best and get ahead where I can. Never had a problem with succeeding, or being allowed to succeed. Made E-7 on my second board and E-8 on my first. I don't worry about anything other than what I can control.

By the way, with my girls AAU team, given a choice between a male or female to serve as a professional trainer, the female gets the call every time. I know a couple of outstanding women trainers that have played at high levels one a former UCONN starter. I want them on the court with my girls so that the girls can see the future in front of them. Had one female official this weekend as well, and I was ecstatic because my girls rarely see that. Wish they had more. I want my girls to have positive female role models.
  #4 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 04:29pm
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Basketball Officiating Mirrors Business

I think that basketball officiating mirrors society in general when it comes to hiring minorities (blacks and females).

Two decades ago, most businesses had an unwritten (but noticeable) policy regarding the hiring and promotion of minorities. Blacks and women were discriminated against, plain and simple. As society and the law changed, business began to subscribe to the concept of truer equality for all. At first, some minorities were probably incorrectly hired and promoted at the expense of white males. But that was necessary to get things headed in the right direction. Having been with my present employer for twenty years and having watched this happen, I can say that it's not perfect yet, but we're better off now than we were then. We are a more diverse company (and society), and that's almost always good.

I think the same thing is happening to basketball officiating, and that's good, too. The sport is half women and (at least) 1/3 black, so we should have the same kind of representation among us officials. It's always going to be tough to get enough qualified women, I agree, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Maybe it will be at my expense (I'm a white male), but that's my two cents worth.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 05:08pm
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Smile I only disagree with you on this level JAdams

I think that the business situation is a bit difference. In business you might not be dealing with one group of people. In Basketball or Football for that matter, you might be dealing with schools that have teams that are monolithic. Because officiating is part sales job, you should have individuals that affect the participants. I am not saying that in parts of business and Corprate America do not have elements of this (I should know, I worked for Walgreens about a year ago and our entire staff was Black. Both stores I worked in were on the Southside Chicago and almost all of our customers were Black), but at least in sports you are judged for the most part on wins and loses. You know after every contest who won and who lost. And because of that the best participants happen to be Black, especially in basketball. You are judged more on talent which sometimes has to do with size and ability. Not that one race over the other has a genetic advantage over the other, but Black kids see more role models that look like them and excel. It would be the same in Golf, but Golf is very expensive to play and you have to have money to play on a regular basis. Even in baseball, this is not a major issue because there are not as many players that are Black. I do not here the same cry for Black officials in that sport and do not see being Black as an advantage. At least if I do a game with a all-black team and an all-white team, the Black team can hardly say that it was a racial thing. As I said before the tournament game I did on Wednesday had that very thing. Now, I will say this, it was implied that we were calling a "different" game than they were used to, but the coaches cries does not wash as well. We even T'd up the Black coach for is behavior. But it is not the reality, it is the appearence. But understand we are also judged on our weight, our uniform and sometimes our family situation. The color of our skin is only one of many things. At least the further you move up.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 05:26pm
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Sensitive issue

You're right, this is a sensitive issue. I do, however, have to take ssue with a comment you made in your post. You question the quality of the officials hired from a recent JuCo camp you attended. Your questioning remark suggests the officials hired were unqualified or not the best qualified because they are African-american. While I was not privileged to have attended that camp, I would certainly believe the best officials were hired. You simply were not one of the best officials, therefore, you were not hired. It is unfair to assert that minorities are ill-equipped and unqualified simply because of their ethnicity. Do you mean to suggest that because of your WHITENESS, you are the best or better qualified? If, by chance, you were not hired because you are WHITE..., well that just doesn't happen in America. After all, WHITE men have run this country since its existence.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 05:43pm
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Re: Sensitive issue

Quote:
Originally posted by LadyRef
You're right, this is a sensitive issue. I do, however, have to take ssue with a comment you made in your post. You question the quality of the officials hired from a recent JuCo camp you attended. Your questioning remark suggests the officials hired were unqualified or not the best qualified because they are African-american. While I was not privileged to have attended that camp, I would certainly believe the best officials were hired. You simply were not one of the best officials, therefore, you were not hired. It is unfair to assert that minorities are ill-equipped and unqualified simply because of their ethnicity. Do you mean to suggest that because of your WHITENESS, you are the best or better qualified? If, by chance, you were not hired because you are WHITE..., well that just doesn't happen in America. After all, WHITE men have run this country since its existence.

I am so sorry if that is what you got out of my comments. No I feel that the better officials are hired. But lets face it, sometimes the people are hired because assignors are looking for them to hire. I did not get hired in the college area, but I did get hired to do some varsity games for a couple of assignors. I think that at least for Women's college basketball, that the women officials got first consideration. Now does that mean that they were not qualified, I would never say that. You must also understand that word "qualified" is very subjective. To one person you are qualified, to the next you might not be what they are looking for. I have only been officiating for 5 years. To some individuals and assignors, I am not qualified to do any varsity. But when I was on the court and was able to show my stuff, I was given many chances. But there were cases that I was not given any. I have been doing varsity games since my second year, both boys and girls games. Now was I more qualified than the others that did not do games, I really do not know. You would have to ask the people that hired me. To some I was, not because I was Black (at least I do not think), but because my mechanics were solid, I looked the part (slim, athletic body type) and my deameanor was good too. But I am now working in conferences that have some all-black teams and all-white teams. And if you work in the Chicago Public League, almost all the officials in the association that assigns those games are Black. As a matter of fact, I have not seen one white official that has attended those meetings. I have not gotten one Public League game assigned to me, so you tell me. It just depends on who is hiring you and what they expect. Some have different "qualifications," and I assume that I am not going to fit everyones standard, nor do I expect to. I am only at the lowest level in my state, and to many that is not good enough to get varsity games in some conferences. But I would never suggest that minorities or women that have been hired are not as capable as the white counterparts. Never would say that!!!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 06:10pm
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Re: Sensitive issue

Quote:
Originally posted by LadyRef
You're right, this is a sensitive issue. I do, however, have to take ssue with a comment you made in your post. You question the quality of the officials hired from a recent JuCo camp you attended. Your questioning remark suggests the officials hired were unqualified or not the best qualified because they are African-american. While I was not privileged to have attended that camp, I would certainly believe the best officials were hired. You simply were not one of the best officials, therefore, you were not hired. It is unfair to assert that minorities are ill-equipped and unqualified simply because of their ethnicity. Do you mean to suggest that because of your WHITENESS, you are the best or better qualified? If, by chance, you were not hired because you are WHITE..., well that just doesn't happen in America. After all, WHITE men have run this country since its existence.
LadyRef,
No disagreement here, except I don't remember seeing that Big Dave was not hired, or even that he applied.

mick

  #9 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 06:10pm
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She was replying to BigDave, Rut, not you.
  #10 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 06:18pm
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Re: Sensitive issue

Originally posted by LadyRef
It is unfair to assert that minorities are ill-equipped and unqualified simply because of their ethnicity.

I'll jump in to this and say that I don't believe that's what BigDave said or meant. In fact, he didn't say anything like that. You're attempting to put words in his mouth.

Do you mean to suggest that because of your WHITENESS, you are the best or better qualified? If, by chance, you were not hired because you are WHITE..., well that just doesn't happen in America. After all, WHITE men have run this country since its existence.

I've got news for you! It's does happen. Have you ever heard of affirmative action? I've been told some of the same things that Rut and Big Dave have posted here. If you have three officials, a woman, a black man and a white man, who have equal qualifications and abilities, The woman will be picked up first in women's ball and the black man will be picked up first in men's ball. It doesn't bother me. That's the way it is. All other things being equal, that's the way it is.



[Edited by BktBallRef on Nov 27th, 2000 at 09:34 PM]
  #11 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 06:29pm
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My reply was to BigDave, not you. He questioned if the best officials were getting promoted because those promoted were African-American men and women. But since you mentioned a few things, let me say this. I, too, am an official in Chicago. I, too, am an African-American. As a matter of fact, I work a good deal of girls and boys varsity games in the Chicago Public League and just as many varsity games in the North Shore, Western Suburbs and Northwest Suburbs. The assignors (all two of them) who assign the Chicago Public League are contracted with Chicago Public Schools/Board of Education. They do not assign on behalf of the Association, rather they assign on behalf of Chicago Public Schools. There has been on occasion, white officials who have attended association meetings. In fact, it was this same association (predominantly African-American) that took a white man down state to work the girls state tournament. You also mentioned Women's basketball and women officials being considered over men. Which gender do you think is given preferential consideration in men's basketball?
  #12 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 07:16pm
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Wow! Interesting subject! I am a "newbie", entering my second season. I am a woman and am trying to put myself in the position of the male official in this circumstance. I will admit that I do feel compassion for the male official who gets "passed up" because there is a desire to get more women and minority referees. My brother, who is a seasoned collegiate & minor league umpire, tells me I'm getting into officiating "at the right time". Right now, I'm just trying very hard to learn and improve. I must say that when I step onto the floor at the beginning of the game (particularly if I am with a male partner and/or officiating a boys' game), I feel a need to work even harder in order to be respected at the same level as my male counterpart....simply because of my gender. Now I am just stating how I FEEL. Most of my experiences have been positive with regards to respect shown me (other than last Saturday night when I did an 8th grade boys' game and things got ugly and I T'd a disqualified player on the bench...well that's a story for another post.) I certainly hope that I am never advanced because of my gender....the thoughts of that scare me! I hope I only advance to the next level when I have proven competence.
  #13 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 10:05pm
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Lightbulb NO!

Quote:
Originally posted by doghead
...Most of my experiences have been positive with regards to respect shown me (other than last Saturday night when I did an 8th grade boys' game and things got ugly and I T'd a disqualified player on the bench...well that's a story for another post.) I certainly hope that I am never advanced because of my gender....the thoughts of that scare me! I hope I only advance to the next level when I have proven competence.
doghead,
Item: 8th grade game
Eighth grade boys have more testosterone than they can handle.
Item: Advancement
Take it whenever, and for whatever the reason.

Have fun.

mick
  #14 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 10:52pm
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I'm sorry you misunderstood my post. And I really thought I explained myself clearly. Guess I'll have to work on that...

And yes, as BktBallRef stated, I do believe you were trying to put words in my mouth. "My WHITENESS" was never mentioned. I'm not sure I even know the definition of "my WHITENESS". Please keep this issue to basketball officiating. That was my only intention.
  #15 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 27, 2000, 11:56pm
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Exclamation Be careful !

Quote:
Originally posted by BigDave
I'm sorry you misunderstood my post. And I really thought I explained myself clearly. Guess I'll have to work on that...

And yes, as BktBallRef stated, I do believe you were trying to put words in my mouth. "My WHITENESS" was never mentioned. I'm not sure I even know the definition of "my WHITENESS". Please keep this issue to basketball officiating. That was my only intention.
Big Dave,
LadyRef, being in the legal profession, was just doing a little "cross" examination of your post.
mick
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