"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

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The officiating epidemic

A professional NFL referee signaling that a touchdown was scored.
Photo used with permission by pixabay.com
A professional NFL referee signaling that a touchdown was scored.

Being a referee (ref for short) has to be one of the worst jobs in the entire world. The pay is great, most of the time, but that is about the only upside. If you have been to a sporting event of any kind, it could even be your cousin’s soccer game, you probably either complained about the refs yourself or heard someone around you complaining.

 Even when the refs are just doing their jobs, there are angry fans on both sides yelling and screaming. Since the beginning of sports, the refs have been indispensable. Without them, the NBA would look like an average Great Life gym at 1 p.m. While all of this is true, the job of a referee was never made to be the job of a human. Everyone has flaws, nobody has enough eyes to watch all 22 players on a football field. That is why the philosophy around officiating needs to change toward a more automated system, in some cases, it already has.

Baseball and soccer started to improve officiating in recent years. In soccer, the video assistant referee (VAR) has been a huge help for refs all across Europe. It replays penalties that the refs are on the fence about to see if they should or should not make the call. It takes pressure off of the refs and gives more room for error. 

In Major League Baseball, fans complained nonstop due to the inconsistency of how umpires call balls and strikes. Recently, the minor leagues have experimented with using robot umpires that have a set strike zone. The robot never makes the wrong call and the only downside is that it can break. Nevertheless, it has seen a ton of success in the minor leagues and will probably be implemented more in the future. 

The two sports that seem to have the most problems with officiating are basketball and football. At almost every NBA game you can hear a “REFS YOU SUCK” chant raining down on the court. These problems are seen at the professional level while also down to the seventh grade level. The only way the officiating at the professional level can be fixed is by punishing refs for bad calls/games while also using the replay system more to help the refs out. 

Nobody wants to have their team lose because of a bad call, and refs don’t want to be yelled at constantly. Holding refs accountable with fines is the best way for both sides, the refs will strive to be better while fans will enjoy a better product.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Schultz, Staff Writer
Cooper Schultz is a junior, first-year staff writer for the Statesman.  He also considers himself the #1 Minnesota sports fan and an Anthony Edwards enthusiast. When he is not watching Justin Jefferson Highlights, he is playing golf or basketball. Schultz is enrolled in the Spanish Immersion program and is a proud member of the JV golf team. 
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