There has certainly been some shaky officiating in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and when you consider (gestures wildly at Baylor-North Carolina game) this isn’t the worst of the worst calls.
But RJ Melendez getting called for a technical foul for “having momentum while dunking a basketball” is still pretty awful.
wow. technical foul to Illinois for hanging on the rim? ridiculous #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/nv18K9NwgT— Ted Budd (@TedBuddy8) March 20, 2022
And in a close game between the No. 5 Houston Cougars and No. 4 Illinois Fighting Illini, it could end up being a deciding factor in who advances to the Sweet 16.
Officiating college basketball is a tough job. The referees are all independent contractors that have different bosses, and a completely new set of them during the NCAA Tournament than they’ve had all year. There’s no union, no full-time employment, and while there are supervisors, they can only give feedback and not steps to action to get better.
But what we’ve seen in this tournament is that one of the biggest sporting events in the world (and one that’s only behind the World Cup in terms of betting handle) is often awfully managed by the three men in charge. It needs to get better, and it needs to happen soon.