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Not-so-Signpost: Bad calls and bad attitudes

Watching Weber State University’s men’s basketball games bring two things: great plays and controversial referee calls.

Being a referee in sports is a hard job. Constantly being in charge of some of the most important games in sports and making decisions can make or break a very close and contentious game, leading to criticism.

Referees often believe they can’t be wrong.
Referees often believe they can’t be wrong. Photo credit: Emilie Hart

There will always be one team who is happy with the foul call and the other that is clearly in disgust, no matter which sport it is.

If a wrong call was made, people in the stands, coaches and players spew out their feelings and disgruntlement towards the referees in disapproval, and the words are not necessarily pleasant, to say the least.

Being heckled based on decisions, good or bad, is not easy, and this is their full-time job.

Imagine going into work one day and someone criticsized another employee every day — that would not be fun to watch or to deal with.

Referees, however, act as if the words are all talk, and they own their decisions, no matter how bad they are.

They discuss amongst themselves and keep calm as thousands of fans boo and complain about what they are doing.

Referees fill an essential role in sports, and whether you agree with their calls or not, they continue to do their best.
Referees fill an essential role in sports, and whether you agree with their calls or not, they continue to do their best. Photo credit: Emilie Hart

Seeing basketball head coach Randy Rahe looking, yelling, throwing his arms in the air and walking back and forth as he disagrees with calls on the sidelines tells spectators all they need to know when watching poor officiating.

It seemed like almost every Big Sky Conference game had a list of questionable calls going towards the direction of WSU as both fans, coaches and the Wildcats bench were all in absolute shock with some decisions.

The calls were especially jaw-dropping during the matchup against this year’s Big Sky Champions, Montana State, when Weber State lost 78–57 on Feb. 5.

Coming into this game, Montana State was No. 2, and Weber State was atop the Big Sky standings. This was one of the most important conference games in the past season.

It was blatantly obvious that in previous games in all sports, referees make mistakes and bad decisions that can negatively impact one team’s outcome or performance.

Eventual Big Sky Player of the Year Jubrile Belo was a physical force in the paint as he would post up against former Wildcat center Dontay Bassett and in one quick movement, something so tiny would result in the referees pulling out their whistles.

It seemed like every time the ball touched Belo and Bassett tried to guard Belo, something went off inside the minds of the referees that ticked a reaction and the screech of the whistle filled the arena.

Fans heckling behind the press box complaining that the referees have been abysmal all season and that it seemed like they swallowed and choked on the whistle because it wouldn’t stop screeching.

Weber State played five games in 11 days before that matchup, so fatigue caught up with them.

The whistle: a small device that holds the power to ruin a good game in a matter of seconds.
The whistle: a small device that holds the power to ruin a good game in a matter of seconds. Photo credit: Emilie Hart

Still, the referees didn’t give the Wildcats any favors and went to the replay review board to discuss as thousands of fans and Rahe yell at them to reverse the bad call, but are left empty-handed.

Vulgar language is usually the dialogue thrown at referees, and the fans in purple were no exception.

The Bobcats fans, however, were cheering and happy with the calls; some of them were even seen laughing their way because they knew how horrid the decisions were by the officials.

Sports bring a lot of twists and turns, but Weber State not only battling against their opponents on some nights, but battling with officials who make controversial calls that can change how the flow of the games go.

It is a reoccurring theme once every couple of games each season to see incorrect officiating, but it seems like it is inevitable even though referees are trying their best.

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