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Big East, ACC, others form basketball officiating alliance

Can this improve the game? This collaboration should keep referees well-rested, ultimately improving officiating across all four conferences.

NCAA Basketball: St. John's at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball referees are known to have a heavy workload, and many have taken issue with how that workload induces questionable calls as referees, often attached to leagues, travel far and wide to cover games.

To help answer the issue of workload and to make refereeing a bit more consistent, the Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic-10, and Colonial Athletic Association announced on Tuesday the formation of a men’s basketball officiating alliance.

Big East’s Supervisor of Officials, John Cahill, plus Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s Coordinator of Officiating, have been selected to head this new officiating alliance.

This alliance will allow these four leagues to collaborate on all officiating matters, including training, recruitment, and most importantly scheduling. Often times basketball officials are overworked, calling multiple games all over the country within one week.

This new alliance is geography-efficient, keeping officials in one part of the country. By cutting officials’s travel, referees should be well-rested and prepared to call basketball games to the best of their ability. And for those who think officials in different leagues call games differently from each other, this should also normalize the quality of officiating in these multi-bid leagues.

The Big East has historically worked individually in handling officiating, so this collaboration with other conferences is a change. Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman believes this change will be very beneficial for all parties involved.

"Our coaches, referees and student-athletes will all gain from this new collaboration and from the credibility,” said Ackerman via a Big East press release. “[The] experience and know-how that John and Bryan will bring to bear on one of the most important areas of the game."

“As we seek to continue to improve college basketball and the quality of our officiating program, I’m pleased that we have been able form this alliance with the BIG EAST, the A10 and the CAA,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford.

Swofford continued:

“Combining the expertise and resources of these outstanding basketball conferences gives us a chance to prominently support current and future officials. Throughout their careers, John and Bryan have demonstrated a tremendous understanding of the challenges that are faced by teams and officials, and having them collaborate will only increase the level of officiating for all four leagues.

“I’d like to especially thank Paul Brazeau and Stu Jackson for their quality work in helping us get to this point. All of our member institutions and the sport of college basketball stand to benefit from this collaboration in scheduling, travel, training, and evaluation.”

This new officiating process will begin with the 2016-17 season. It should help all four conferences enhance training, recruitment, development, and retention for their officials. How will the Big East coaches react to new names in the officiating pool? Will the leagues be affected by seeing different coaches than they are used to?

Either way, the collaboration is a smart move and a good sign for improving the game.