From the Cheap Seats: Mountaineers & Fans Should Look in the Mir - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

From the Cheap Seats: Mountaineers & Fans Should Look in the Mirror

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Yes, the Mountaineers were the victims of a bad call at the end of Saturday's game at Syracuse. No one seems to dispute that. Unfortunately, it's not the first time that kind of thing has happened to WVU this season. Once again, it put the spotlight on the three guys on the court, who should go essentially unnoticed, if they're doing their jobs correctly.

Directing anger at officials is nothing new. It's a tradition that seemingly dates back to the cavemen. The vast majority of kids are brought up watching their parents and coaches go ballistic every time the whistle blows, and they quickly grow to despise the guys in the stripes.

I'm right there with most of the rest of America. I've spewed more than my share of vitriol at refs over the years. I hate it when an official makes a bad call, because he didn't get himself in the proper position. I hate it when the refs make the game about themselves and not the players. I hate it when officials do emphatic little dances when they make a call, like they're getting some enjoyment out of giving a kid a foul. I hate it when coaches or fans have a better understanding of the rules than the officials. I also hate it when an official lets a coach get into his head and affect the way he calls a game. That is, except, for when one of the masters of that craft, our own Bob Huggins, does it. Then it's cool. Like I said, when it comes to feelings about the zebras, I'm right there with you America.

All that being said, I don't think it's any kind of conspiracy. After Saturday's game, Mountaineer play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi said: "I do not think officials are out to get WVU because of its departure. Instead it's fatigue and lack of aggressive discipline for mistakes." He's right on. I can't imagine the officials care what conference a team will eventually be playing in. That can't be the reason for the bad call on Dominic Rutledge at the end of the Baylor game.

He's also right about the lack of discipline. These guys have to really mess up, much worse than Saturday's no-call, before they face any kind of meaningful punishment. Can you screw up like that at your job and not face any consequences?

It's been documented over and over again that college basketball officials work and travel way too much. There are two major reasons for this: the refs are trying to make as much money as they can during the season, and there just aren't that many of them. Just like men aren't lining up in droves to live the life of a celibate priest, and college graduates aren't thrilled about spending their careers in inner city or rural classrooms, there aren't tons of people dying for a chance to put on the black and white and be called every name in the book, every time they go to work.

That kind of treatment has to get to officials and it shows in games like Saturday's. What it most likely boiled down to, was that none of those three guys had the intestinal fortitude to make a call that would bring the ire of 28,700-plus orange-clad fans raining down upon them. It was very similar to the Mountaineers' win over Cincinnati just a week ago. Most of the building saw KJ pulling a "Chris Webber"(asking for a timeout WVU didn't have) at the end of regulation. Were the officials going to call the technical, award two shots to the Bearcats and more than likely decide the game, in front of 14,000 Mountaineer fans who take every call as a personal affront to their university, state and way of life? No way.

I can't stand bad officiating any more than the next guy, but keep mind, it's seldom a bad call, or even two, that decides a game. There are a thousand other scenarios that could've won us the game against Syracuse, starting with hitting just one of the 32 shots we missed or not committing one of the 14 turnovers we gave to the Orange. A blown call only makes the "L" sting worse, but we can't forget to look in the mirror after a close loss. The officials didn't help, but we didn't help ourselves.

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