However, there is something I would like to point out that
did bother me.
It is my understanding that the officials are out on
the floor to be impartial arbiters.
After the Lincoln starters were announced, the starters were
introduced for Southeast. As each Spartan was introduced and greeted
by a teammate at the top of the key, he made his way to shake hands
with one of the Lincoln assistant coaches. But a funny thing
happened on the way to the Lincoln side.
All three officials were standing in front of the scorer's bench,
facing the court, and, as each Spartan went by, they gave fist bumps
to the Spartan players. I again am not saying anything was up or
fishy. However, the players and officials have an opportunity to
exchange pleasantries during the captains' meeting on the floor
before the game.
If this is common practice at Southeast, or any other
school, so be it. However, if there is a game where the officiating
is questioned by one side or the other, I don't think the school or
the conference wants anything that remotely resembles favoritism.
I've learned a lot about officiating from my broadcast partner Tom Larey. Before the game, when I pointed this out to him (and before
the final score, so please don't think this would not be mentioned
if Lincoln had won the game -- in fact, this is the first portion I am
writing, because I wanted to let the fans know about it), Tom said that when he was officiating, he would have turned his
back on the situation, not to insult anyone, but to avoid being
involved in something that could be construed in any way other than
what it was.
Maybe it's just me, but I didn't like it. If you were
in attendance, you can attest to the fact that both sides, not just
Lincoln, were not very happy with the officials.
It is part of the game, but it is supposed to be the unbiased
part of the game, and maybe something should be done to make sure
the appearance of being unbiased is upheld.
[Special commentary by JEFF BENJAMIN]