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Old Wed Mar 16, 2005, 01:26pm
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This is a email conversation between an AD and myself. I Sub "AD" for his name. I have officiated with him years ago. He is now a college AD.

"AD wrote: Hi there. Hope you are doing well. I want your opinion on this. I got this info from the Sports Illustrated website. Northern Iowa's AD Rick Hartzell's is also a big-time NCAA men's basketball official. "He refereed several games involving other NCAA bubble teams, including the Conference USA final between Memphis and Louisville. Memphis lost, clearing space for a bubble team, and Northern Iowa appears to be one of the final two teams in the field of 65. But don't blame Hartzell. He's the referee who whistled the foul on Francisco Garcia that sent Darius Washington to the foul line in the final second. "UNI plays Wisconsin in the first round and it was Hartzell's assignment for Wisconsin's last-second win against Indiana on March 1 that drew national attention." First off, how does an AD have time to do his job and travel around the country as an official? Secondly, how does the NCAA allow this apparent conflict of interest?

Hi AD, good to hear from you. As to your first question, its not any ones business how he can get away from work. As to you second question, I don't buy your premise that itÂ’s a conflict of interest. He is a great official. You don't become great and work great games by trying to make calls one way or the other. If an official did try this, they would have a bad game. And I don't believe any official will want to have a bad game. This was on the discussion board. See the following site...http://www.officialforum.com/thread/18955
Thanks,
Bart

"AD wrote: As a former official, I don't think he would call a one-sided game. I just think it's strange for supervisors to put him in the situation. If I was the CEO of Boeing, my shareholders would object to me working a second job at Airbus.


Hi AD, Rick Hartzell worked many years to become a D-1 official. He didn't become an official after he was an AD. He officiates different conferences then what he works as an AD. Your analogy between Boeing and Airbus is flawed for several reasons. 1) the conferences are not competing, the two teams on the court are playing the game. 2) A CEO has time to think, analyze, confer with others, chart, graph, etc. 3) the official has to make split second decisions based on the actions on the court at the moment. 3) CEO's sign no-competing contracts, not only for the time they are employed but for years after they leave the company. 4) officials have no such contracts to prevent them from working other conferences. This is not anything new. Officials and supervisors make many decisions based on conflict of interest for all sorts of reasons. I agree the line has to be drawn somewhere. The question is where. Some people would say if I live in Kansas, then I can't officiate in Missouri or officiate any team from any other state. So you are in charge, you tell me and all these great officials, who gets to ref and who has to give it up? This issue has come up in the past and it will in the future. This in a discussion only because of an over jealous play by play analysis on TV had a wrong analysis of several plays in a game. The replay and the analysis of others who know about officiating, of the plays in question proved the commentator on TV didn't have a clue. The other conferences and the other teams in question didn't have a problem with Rick working these games. This question of conflict of interest needs to be up to the supervisor and not the media. The media almost always is bias against officials because they don't have a clue about officiating. When you ask us for our opinion, I could tell you have already concluded your opinion. So, I question your reasoning for asking us. The way you worded your question was bias.
Thank you,
Bart

--- "AD" wrote: Wow, what a response. I sent this out for discussion purposes to about 70 people--senior athletic administrators, MVC officials, media members, referees and fans. I have worked in a Division I athletic department and saw what kind of effort and commitment it takes to build and run an athletic department. I have also been an official. I always aspired to be a Division I AD and Division I official. My dream was to be a guy like Rick Hartzell, but I knew I would one day have to choose because it's a perceived conflict by the fans. I didn't think it would be right to do both. I don't know Rick, didn't see any of the games in question and would never question his integrity. I just saw these comments online and wondered what others thought. The people who need to answer to this are the president at UNI and the conference officiating assigners. Even though we obviously have differing views on this subject, I hope you can respect my opinion like I respect yours. What are you doing these days? Where do you work and are you still officiating?


AD, of course I respect your opinion. In fact I am glad you took the time to ask officials. Your question would have been better served had you asked it in a non bias way. Read your question and ask yourself if you could have worded the question differently so as to get real opinions about the subject. "First off, how does an AD have time to do his job and travel around the country as an official?" This question is asking others to agree with you by painting a negative image, so as to set up the next question, which is also worded incorrectly to obtain a honest opinion. This first question has absolutely nothing to do with his officiating or conflict of interest. "Secondly, how does the NCAA allow this apparent conflict of interest?" This is not asking for input about conflict of interest. This is for out rage after the conviction. The question has already decided
the conflict of interest. Based on how you feel, you will be surprised at all the officials you will have to eliminate from your schedule. I've been working at (employer) for over 10 years and I officiate HS, KCAC, KJCCC, MIAA. I officiate with past and present teachers, AD's, school administrators, etc. Many of the officials are D-1 officials. They do a great job. So, I do have first hand knowledge of this issue. Again, please understand, I do like you and respect you and all AD's. You have a tough job and you should be aware of the issue. Its great hearing from you. This was very interesting.
Thanks,
Bart

[Edited by Bart Tyson on Mar 16th, 2005 at 01:51 PM]
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Old Wed Mar 16, 2005, 01:38pm
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Good thoughts you offered, Bart.
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Old Wed Mar 16, 2005, 01:50pm
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Good discussion with the AD, and I liked most of what you wrote, Bart. But I think you're wrong about perceiving bias in the original questions.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bart Tyson
Your question would have been better served had you asked it in a non bias way. "First off, how does an AD have time to do his job and travel around the country as an official?"

I don't think this is a biased question at all. I think it's perfectly legitimate. How does any big-time D1 official work games 4-5 nights a week and hold down a full-time job?

The answer, of course, is exactly what you told the AD: it's really none of our business. The official worked it out with his/her employer and that's that. But it is an interesting question, in its own right.

Quote:
"Secondly, how does the NCAA allow this apparent conflict of interest?"
This seems more biased b/c it assumes that there is an apparent conflict of interest. But that's not a completely unrealistic assumption. It's not quite as clear in Hartzell's case, but someone completely unfamiliar with the man or the situation might conclude that there is at least the appearance of a conflict.

JMO, as always.
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Old Wed Mar 16, 2005, 02:32pm
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Originally posted by mick
Good thoughts you offered, Bart.
Agreed
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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 12:34am
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Conflicts of interest are not avoided to relieve the person involved from some internal conflict. They are avoided to protect that person from unfair criticism and character questioning.

Knowing this situation, I would have thought very seriously about taking these games. Let's say he DIDN'T make that call at the end. He wouldn't be subjected to plenty of unfair character assasination, just because he missed a call. Thinking further, I would have turned the games down.
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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 12:39am
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Quote:
Originally posted by lrpalmer3
Conflicts of interest are not avoided to relieve the person involved from some internal conflict. They are avoided to protect that person from unfair criticism and character questioning.

Knowing this situation, I would have thought very seriously about taking these games. Let's say he DIDN'T make that call at the end. He wouldn't be subjected to plenty of unfair character assasination, just because he missed a call. Thinking further, I would have turned the games down.
Well then a person in his situation should never work D1 ball. Better yet, anyone that went to a college should not work either.

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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 12:41am
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That's all well and good, irpalmer, and I may have done the same. However, I'm not about to question Hartzell's decision. Let's also remember that it's not as if he'd been assigned the game that day.
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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 12:13pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by lrpalmer3
Conflicts of interest are not avoided to relieve the person involved from some internal conflict. They are avoided to protect that person from unfair criticism and character questioning.

Knowing this situation, I would have thought very seriously about taking these games. Let's say he DIDN'T make that call at the end. He wouldn't be subjected to plenty of unfair character assasination, just because he missed a call. Thinking further, I would have turned the games down.
What major D-I conferences could he work then? They ALL have bubble teams or teams that might be bubble teams.

Hartzell has been a college athletic director for a long time -- since 1985 at UM-Baltimore County (they went D-I while he was there) and for a long time at Bucknell as well. He's been a D-I AD for the better part of 20 years and this crap comes out now because of some idiot on ESPN?
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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 04:25pm
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Originally posted by Snaqwells
However, I'm not about to question Hartzell's decision.
I don't question his decision. Subtle difference, I'm saying that I would not have taken the game if I was in that position. But then again, I don't have the years of unquestioned service that he does.

The "idiot" on ESPN would love nothing more than to ruin a good official's career. Just too sticky for me.
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Old Thu Mar 17, 2005, 04:33pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by lrpalmer3
Quote:
Originally posted by Snaqwells
However, I'm not about to question Hartzell's decision.
The "idiot" on ESPN would love nothing more than to ruin a good official's career. Just too sticky for me.
For the "idiot" it's all about the ratings. He stirs a controversy, gets everybody talking, suddenly ESPN is in the spotlight. If an official takes it in the shorts, that's no sweat off of the "idiot's" nose, or ESPN's collective nose. The bigger the stink, the bigger the ratings. Period.

I was thinking about paying for a membership to ESPN.com. But the more I think about it, the more I think I'll pass. In fact, perhaps next year we should take our pool to Yahoo or somewhere else.
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