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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:39am
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Anybody read this article? Does it seem to have validity in your association? It is in this month Referee Mag.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:45am
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I didn't read it yet. What was the gist of the article?

Z
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 11:47am
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The article is asking if there really a smoke-filled back room somewhere where fat cat officails and assigners meet to help only each other and leave the rest of us out in the cold or worse.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 12:04pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by IREFU2
The article is asking if there really a smoke-filled back room somewhere where fat cat officails and assigners meet to help only each other and leave the rest of us out in the cold or worse.
Well here in Washington State, smoking is banned just about everywhere so the smoke-filled room couldn't happen.

I can only speak from my own experience. After my first year of officiating, I was rated near the bottom of our boys and girls associations. I was very raw and that is where I deserved to be.

I worked hard and took in every bit of advice and constructive criticism that I could and improved every year. As my ability improved, so did my rating. Now I am near the top in both groups. I have never attended the Friday night post-game referee gatherings at the local watering hole and have never seen a smoke-filled back room.

In my experience, the officials who blame politics for a rating that is lower than they think it should be are just using it as an excuse. They have holes in their games. Most of them don't attend camps, they argue with evaluators or they are satisfied with just calling fouls and violations and have never tried to expand their officiating game.

I am fortunate in that we have a peer-based ratings system that means that ratings come from a large group. I would not want to be in an area where one single person (perhaps the assignor) decides the rating of each official. I could see where that would reek of the perception of favoritism. Statistically speaking, it makes sense to have as many "inputs" as possible.

Z
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 12:10pm
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I just read the article the other day. I really do not see this "old boy network" in the way that people like to think there is. I have to qualify my statements by saying I do not belong to an association or live in an area where "an association" really gives out games. Our system is more like the D1 system. Every conference has an assignor and those assignors come up with their own way of thinking on what is required to hire someone. Also a lot of assignors do not like each other or respect the decisions of other assignors so there really is not a group of people that get together and make decisions that affect everyone's assignments. Now assignors and officials are human so there is always going to be certain bias that they bring to the table, but even when those assignors have those biases, they cannot only hire people in that small window and cover all games. I know a lot of assignments that are given out with very little overall knowledge of the person they are hiring or only saw once at a camp. In some cases I have seen where an assignor takes a chance on someone that no one else has given an opportunity. Anytime you are dealing with human beings you will have decisions that everyone is not going to like or respect. Also assignors are not going to hire people that are new when they have a lot of officials that have proven they can get the job done as compared to someone that is newer and has not established him or herself in officiating.

I think the biggest problem with the "old boy network," is the fact that officials use this as a crutch when they do not succeed. I know officials that attend few meetings, hardly ever go to camps do not go to socials where they can actually meet the assignor they want to work for (which I feel is very important, you are the best salesperson of your ability) or just go around complaining how they got the shaft to everyone that will listen. I know as an official I tried to meet everyone I could so that I would find out who to talk to or what I had to do so I could get hired. Many times for me it was just introducing myself to the assignor and they would tell me to attend their camp or tell me what information to send them. I did not do anything that someone else could not do. Now that might not at all apply to where someone else lives or their personal experiences. I just think you have to know the system you are under and find ways to get noticed.

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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 12:45pm
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What if

[QUOTE]Originally posted by zebraman
Quote:

Statistically speaking, it makes sense to have as many "inputs" as possible.

Z
It only makes sense if the pool you're drawing on makes sense.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:01pm
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Seems to me, based on my experience in the corporate world, that there are always good old boys clubs. They are not necessarily formal, they do not gather to smoke in a back room, they do not acknowledge or see themselves as good old boys, but they do promote their buddies, hire others who are similar to them, invite each other to social events - at the exclusion of "others" - and look to each other for advancement opportunities. I can't imagine it's any different in the refereeing world.

And although we'd all like to believe that everything is merit based and that we've all earned our positions, I think we know that some percentage of our success (or lack of success) is based on our gender, who we know, and how much the boss can relate to us.

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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:04pm
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Yep

Sort of like the X-Files, they do and dont exsist! The truth is out there!
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:09pm
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There will always, to some extent, be such a network...but I don't think it is as tight in my area as it could be. I see evidence of it when the playoff assignments are posted (after they have ended). In our chapter, if an official is requested by the coaches they get the game as long as they have met the chapter's requirements to be playoff eligible. When the playoff participation is posted on the web site, the games where the officials were requested are marked. If you look at the other games, it tends to be the same officials over and over...a couple of new ones, but not many.

What makes that a little odd is I have heard the assignment secretary tell officials to make sure they keep their availabitly the same as submitted as much as possible so he can give them playoff games...then those officials get left out. Sure some may be becuase they were not available but I doubt that applies to all of them.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:26pm
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Just like Zebraman

The area I work in is pretty much the same. I am involved. I go to games, clinics,and meetings. It is amazing some of the guidance I have received about officiating. Sitting around after my game, vet had come to watch his girlfriends kid play JV, saw me ref and starts going over stuff with me. 45 minutes later he is gone ,taking his 12 years of D1 experience, 4 in the Pac 10 with him. . I got my own personal camp that night.

IMO, and I repeat IMO, the ones who complain about the good ole boys just won't play the game. I have also noticed that they can't be bothered with things like mechanics, showing up early, hanging around, doing the clinic,camps. My perception is they treat this pretty lightly until their check is screwed up then.....
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:31pm
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Wink

Oh, and my other comment is that if you're part of the good old boy's network, you're the one who will most vehemently deny that it exists!
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 02:44pm
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When I first started officiating I tried to work rec. league games in the town I live in. This is a small town and there is a tight group of officials that work all the rec. league games. When I first started out I could not work any games in my own town. These guys all know me. They see me at the meetings. This assigner would see me at High school games. In my five years as an official the assigner for these leagues has only called me twice (once was in my second season and the other was last week) because he was in a bind. Both times I politely declined. So I think there is an “old boy net work” out there, but not on a grand scale. I don’t think it will stop someone from moving up the ranks.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 03:04pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ref-X
When I first started officiating I tried to work rec. league games in the town I live in. This is a small town and there is a tight group of officials that work all the rec. league games. When I first started out I could not work any games in my own town. These guys all know me. They see me at the meetings. This assigner would see me at High school games. In my five years as an official the assigner for these leagues has only called me twice (once was in my second season and the other was last week) because he was in a bind. Both times I politely declined. So I think there is an “old boy net work” out there, but not on a grand scale. I don’t think it will stop someone from moving up the ranks.
Hey Ref-X,

I had the same problem and I was even told I would never officiate in the Men's Rec League. So one day I was just sitting in the stands watching, had my stuff in the car and one of the Ref pulled a muscle. I was asked to help and got in that way. So I know how you feel.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 03:47pm
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Of course there is such a network. Anyone who doubts it is lucky to work in an area that has formal evaluations. Until this year, I worked almost exclusively for one assignor. I went to camp. I talked to varsity guys. I stayed after my sub-varsity games. I took every game offered. I work on my mechanics, rules, appearance, contacts: in short everything that works for me in every aspect of my life.

But not with this one assignor. He controls a ton of games (including everything close to my work and home) and he gave me a lot of games. But no matter what, I could never get more than one or two varsity games. He refused to talk to me about it. He yelled and screamed when I tried to discuss it. So this year, I went to two other assignors. One offered me five dates, including three varsity. The other (in his first year in this league) offered three dates and said he would consider varsity after he saw me work. I certainly have no problem with that.

I had a falling out with my main assignor and he took away my schedule of 20 dates (without telling me). We had a long shouting match (rather, he shouted and I listened) and the upshot is I got a dozen varsity dates from him. I have to travel a lot further, but at least I got the schedule I wanted. But it was an ugly way to do it. It was not based on my skill, since he has never seen me work. I know of coaches, ADs and varsity refs who have called this guy and told him that I should be doing varsity games.

Yet I watch who gets varsity for this guy and does not. I talk to coaches and hear their complaints. This man has an old-boy network -- literally. He is 83 years old and I have learned the hard way that there is no way to crack it. If you are not one of his "boys" (and that does include a small number of women), you are not getting in. And having worked with some of these men, many no longer belong at this level. They do not hustle. They do not keep up with rules. Their mechanics are whatever they want them to be. And they certainly do not want to lose their varsity status. Fortunately, this is his last year assigning and I have some hope that those who replace him will be more fair. But only some.
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Old Fri Jan 20, 2006, 08:23pm
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I am in my third year and here in our state there is some of the "who you know", but that is not the whole story. My first year, I worked games through only one assignor who gave me as many JV & Freshman games as I wanted. I arrived early, listened to partners, listened to the varsity guys, went in a the varsity games to listen even more. Year two I worked for a couple of other assignors on a limited basis to get more exposure and continued to do the above, did some AAU, went to camp, etc. Year three, still more games from other assignors. Emailed other assignors to let them know of availability for next year with the hopes that some games would show up this year. Worked before one of the assignors last night and may get a game or two from him before the season is out.

Also, I have known the secretary/treasurer of our assn for 25 years. He tried to recruit me into the ranks years ago after finding out I had been certified elsewhere. He is one of my assignors. I stay in touch with him. My instructor is well regarded and I am also in touch with him on a regular basis. {He is also in the same profession as me and I taught HIM in a class several years ago}. My son just got back from a year on the Kuwait-Iraq border and our board interpreter has a son over there now. So I have conversed with him about that in addition to basketball related stuff.

The long and short of it all is that if you work hard to improve, are sincere in asking for and using advice, get to know people in the association, stay to give ratings to varsity officials, go to camps, etc. you will have opportunities to move up. It is not all politics, but it is not politics-free, either. You still have to call a good game. As far as the guys who are past prime go, I have not been in it long enough to see how that part fits in. The article has some merit, but like most topics, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
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