How To Fix the NBA Refereeing Crisis

James BoydContributor IMay 31, 2009

DENVER - MAY 13:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 and Antoine Wright #21 of the Dallas Mavericks react after referee Joe Crawford called a technical foul on Wright after he made contact with J.R. Smith #1 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  Kenyon Martin #4 of the Nuggets looks on. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 124-110 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

There is never as much interest in refereeing as there is during, and just after a playoff series. Fans are complaining about everything from Charges, to uncalled intentional fouls. The question has been asked. How can the NBA fix its officiating 'Crisis' cause seriously who doesn't love a good crisis every now and then. Especially the media.

What do we really want from our referees? 

Perfection? No not really. most people seem to agree that there is always something that warrants a whistle every play. so if not perfection, here's a few ideas.

Consistency. As fans we realize that interpretations vary between people, but seriously is it two hard to call a foul the same for a whole game. people want the players to decide the games, but a foul shot is worth just as many points weather taken in the final or first seconds of a close game. 

If the games are called the same all the way through then players will adjust. Has anyone seen LeBron's "Crab dribble" recently. No, because he knows that will be called a travel. Players will adjust to the refereeing and be able to play within the guidelines.

Accuracy. This is just probably slightly less important than consistency, providing the refs are still using the NBA rule book. People are willing to look over a bad decision if both teams were getting the same treatment. However we also want the right call to be made. 

Flow. A referee has done a good job if we don't really notice them. If the game flows, and the players decide it. Nobody wants to see basketball become stop start like football, where a foul is used like a tackle to reset the play and give everyone a break.

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Age. There is a rising view that the referees are too old and need to be replaced. Obviously referee's still need to have the age to gain the respect of the players and be listened to. 

So How Do We Get this?

Players and teams take a while to develop consistency, chemistry and achieve peak performance. Yet referee's are expected to swap between crews all the time.

Introduce set crews. That way all the officiating will become as team orientated as the game itself. The crews would learn each others tendencies and a foul would be the same at both ends of the court. 

Introduce a rankings system released every month that ranks the crews like a power rankings grades teams. Officials would be judged on accuracy, consistency, and a measurement to determine flow.

There would be other categories for flagrant fouls, techs, and fines the league has given to players and coaches for their comments regarding these crews.

The best crew at midseason can officiate the All-Star game.

What happens for the playoffs?

Well the refereeing pay scale is altered to be the same as a players. They get paid a contracted amount for the period including preseason activities, and the regular season. The top eight crews from the ranking system continue into the postseason.

in the playoffs, a crew will be responsible for each series. The top four crews advance to the next round. After each round, an aggregate playoffs ranking series will be introduced, where your current series counts for 50 percent and all the other series combined count for the rest.

The best crew in the league wins the honor of officiating in the finals. They will get paid accordingly, with performance bonus' based on how well they perform in each series. They might also get a trophy.

How Do We replace old/ under performing referees?

A Draft and relegation.

Like in Golf where players have to achieve a set standard (prize money) to keep their tour card. NBA Refs must meet a set standard or be forced to referee Summer league games. The bottom three crews have to do this.

They would be joined by the best refs the D league has to offer, and the rookies.

How do we get these rookies?

Reality TV, just like every other profession. The format is simple: The NBA pick 100 potential referees from a list of former players, college stars, stat geeks, and open tryouts. They complete a weekend-long intensive, possibly using players preparing for the draft.

As in every other reality show, the top 20 or so would be placed into a house. There they would study more intensely. there the 20 would be narrowed down to just a few, based on a ranking system and fan vote.

Seriously, who wouldn't want to vote out a referee after they cost your team a game?

If the NBA refs have achieved the set standard they can keep their team together. If not, they are mixed in with the others by the referees boss. The top three summer league crews become the last three crews.

If there are more than three NBA crews below the set standard. Providing they are above it, the top D-league crews automatically qualify, and there are less D-league refs in summer league. 

What does everyone think? Could this work? Maybe parts?