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Dotson Lewis' Blog Archives for 2013-03

Dotson’s note: Having work with the officials for more than 20 NCAA tournaments, I thought you might be interested an inside look at the “Third Team” on the court. 




John Adams Coordinator of Officials for the NCAA explains how officials are evaluated and chosen to advance to later rounds in the NCAA tournament:

·      Mobility. We're looking for guys that can keep up with the game.

·      Probably even more important than keeping up with the game is you've got to get the plays right. Every time they blow a whistle, we're looking at them. We have an evaluator on site. We are in a control room the first week in Atlanta watching all the games all at once, with ability to call producer to show us any call of any game at any time.

·      Being an adequate communicator. During the NCAA tournament, we stress to the officials we do not want prolonged conversations with coaches. It works two ways. We want the coaches to be able to coach, but we don't want our officials to what we call babysitting coaches throughout a tournament game. If a coach has a specific question and he's entitled to an answer, we want it to be concise but get back to refereeing the basketball game.

·      Manage major moments. You get some obscure situation comes up, did the officials handle it properly? End of the game, a crucial call, did we get it right?

In addition, four officials will work the two First Four games in Dayton. The other 96 officials selected to work the NCAA tournament will work the first weekend sites. Each site has one of four regional advisors, who will grade each official on every call by noon the next day.

Seven officials are pre-assigned by the NCAA tournament to stay to officiate the second day of games (the round of 32). The six who perform best in their opening-round games will officiate, with the seventh referee being on standby.

After the first weekend of games, Adams and his regional advisors have a conference call discuss the performances of officials and choose referees for regionals by Monday afternoon, at which time they notify officials. The same process is duplicated a week later to pick Final Four officials.


Talk about pressure…this is it!


The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selection is complete and play begins today among the field of 64 teams vying for the National Championship. March Madness is officially underway. I attended the final four every year from 1977 through 2002. It was the best show in town, even better than the Super Bowl.



Below is trivia about college basketball coaches, players, teams and Final Four performances. Ask these questions at dinner tonight or if you know the answers, impress your tweens with your basketball knowledge.



March Madness Trivia Questions (varying degrees of difficulty):

  1. Who invented basketball?  What year?
  2. Who coined the term "March Madness"? And did it first refer to the NCAA Tournament?
  3. How many teams played in the very first NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament? Who won?
  4. Where was the first tournament played? Where will this year's Final Four be held?
  5. Which TV network first showed March Madness games? Which network will televise the games this year?
  6. Who is the first and only player to win the MVP award at the final four on three occasions?
  7. In 1984, which team lost to Georgetown in the championship game, marking its third loss in the Final Four in three year?
  8. This year Rick Pitino coaches the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals. In 1996, he led the Kentucky Wildcats to their first championship since 1978. Who did Kentucky beat in the final game?
  9. Which team has the most number of championship titles?
  10. What player has scored the most points in an NCAA tournament game? How many points did he score?

Dotson’s Note: Call the Benchwarmers’ Thursday for the correct answers, if you can’t figure them out for yourself. 



2013 Rules Changes



True Texas High School Football fans know that in Texas we have only two sports, Football and Spring Football.  As most of our  listernes/readers know in Texas High School Football, we use college rules because our high school football players are more skilled than most players on college teams. We are one of only two states who use NCAA (College) Football Rules, all the other states play by the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) Football Rules. Your comments regarding the changes or any comments pro or con regarding Football Playing Rules will be greatly appreciated.


Here are the new rules which apply starting with the 2013. 

Dotson’s Note: Most of the Rules Committee’s time is spent discussing safety issues.


Here we go:


1.    Targeting an opponent with the crown of the helmet and striking him above the shoulders will result in disqualification.  The penalty for this personal foul will be the same as for fighting. 15 yards plus an automatic first down (if by the defense) and disqualification of  the player:

NOTE: If this occurs in a college game, the player will have limited participation in his team’s next game.



2.    Blocking below the waist will now be allowed only the zone seven yards on each side of the ball extending five yards beyond the neutral zone and back to Team A’s end line.


 (a) Offensive players who are on the line of scrimmage completely within this zone and backs who are stationary completely within the tackle box at the snap may legally block below the waist inside this zone until the ball has left the zone.

(b) Players not covered in a (above) while the ball is still in the zone, and all players after the ball has left the zone, are allowed to block below the waist if the force of the initial contact is from the front, but they may not block below the waist if the force of the initial contact is from the side or back. “From the front” is understood to mean within the clock-face region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” forward of the player being blocked.

(c) Once the ball has left the zone a player may not block below the waist toward his own end line.

(d)) Defensive players may not block below the waist against an opponent who is in position to receive a backward pass.

(e) Defensive players may not block below the waist against an eligible opponent pass receiver beyond the neutral zone unless attempting to get to the ball or ball carrier. This prohibition ends when a legal forward pass is no longer possible by rule.

(f) During a down in which there is a free kick (kick-off) or a scrimmage kick, blocking below the waist by any player is illegal.

(g). Change of possession

After any change of possession (team), blocking below the waist by any player is illegal except against the ball carrier.


3. This rules change was caused in the most part  because of Texas A&M’s violations  of the numbering rule during the 2012 season.


Uniform Numbers

 When a player enters the game after changing his jersey number, he must report to the referee, who then informs the opposing head coach and announces the change. Such a player who enters the game without reporting commits a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.


Two players playing the same position may not wear the same number during the game.


4. Helmet Off: Timeout Allows Player to Remain in the Game

Dotson’s Note:  In 2012 if a player’s helmet came off during play, he had to leave the game for at least one play.


a. If a player’s helmet comes completely off through play, other than as the direct result of a foul by an opponent, the player must leave the game for the next down. The game clock will stop at the end of the down. The player may remain in the game if his team is granted a charged timeout.


5.  Allow Wireless Communication for Officiating Crew

Dotson’s Note: This is great! It will really help the officiating crew on the field. We are planning to use this in high school games in the Corpus Christi area if it is not too expensive.


 A protected wireless communication system open only to the officiating crew and conference officiating observer is allowed.


The following changes were recommended by the Rules Committee but were not approved by PLAYING RULES OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:


Dotson’s note: For the first time since the Playing Rules Oversight Committee was formed (about 10 years), the have not approved some of the Rules Committee’s changes. This will make for some interesting discussions during the season. I was very much in favor of both of these changes


Uniform and field colors must contrast


 Either the color of the uniform pants or the color of the body of the jersey must clearly contrast with the color of the surface of the field of play.


Operate the chain and down box on opposite sides of the field in each half


The official line-to-gain (yardage chain) and down indicators shall be operated approximately six feet outside the sideline, except in stadiums where the total playing enclosure does not permit. These shall be operated on the press box side during the first half and opposite the press box in the second half.