Referees suck

Female referee

Ok, I know this is controversial but so what.

I am going to post some great comments from Coaches and players from a facebook thread I started yesterday.

I really would love your comments and opinions and I would love to get some real referees to chime in here.

Here is my original post and the comments that followed:

“Why are referees so shitty in every sport? They suck. They are useless. The problem is so many of them are do arrogant and they think they are so great. I can count on one hand the number of good refs I have ever seen. Maybe some new methods of training are in order I hate bad refs.”

Here are the comments that followed. Some serious and others not so much:

Comment: I’m a good volleyball referee… 😉 don’t know of any good basketball referees though

Comment: All refs that I know are unbiased. Some are more unbiased than others however… 🙂

Comment: Can’t have a game without them, I’ve been playing rugby for 25 years and anyone that complains, I tell them, “well you can always do it, they are always short” You have to take the good with the bad, bad is alright if they are consistent, ie: knock-ons missed both ways.

Comment:Todd I find these comments very disruptive. Personally I have never met a shitty ref—YEA RIGHT

My Comment: Keith, I know it’s a hard job. Very hard. It’s the arrogance that kills me and the consistent shitty judgement calls. I am not surprised that my coaching friends have also commented here because they understand what I am talking about.

Comment: Keith. I sometimes suspect you could have a game without them and I agree with Todd

Comment: Well Todd, you bring up my pet gripe! It has always made my blood boil that they dio not prepare as hard as the players and coaches and they bring themselves out judge the play of these young men. when you question their calls it becomes an arrogant display of their authority. Best official I can remember is one who would listen briefly and then say “sorry coach, I guess I missed that one” in a very non-confrontational manner. Takes all the air of you. What do say to that on? Never arrogant or confrontational. It also seems like this becomes their little fiefdom and they are all-powerful. I don’t think the fans came to see them officiate. And finally, the very best officials I ever saw were a crew in Sparks, Nevada and you would never even know they were on the floor. Had to go congratulate them after the game and I was only an out of town spectator who appreciated their job. Sorry for such a long diatribe, but this hit a nerve after our game this evening where we had three sub-par officials who were arrogant.

Comment: Tom—Yes and commonly they are the only ones on the floor that are getting paid…Now there are good officials…but most of them are really frustrating…

Comment: Maybe it’s a basketball thing, not having played the sport or really watching it, but refereeing does seem to be a thankless job, are there any good refs in the sport? Do any of you gentlemen referee?

Comment: you’re telling me….last week I called one a “penis head”, sounds more vulgar in Thai, followed by F##k You XXX3, and all I got was a T…woos!

My Comment: This post has obviously touched a nerve. I like it. It needs to be discussed. Good sportsmanship says don’t criticize officials and I agree with that to a point. Keith, yes we are talking mainly about basketball here but I wrote the post when I was watching the Canucks game. NHL. Those refs suck big time and they have 2 of them calling penalties. Not sure about Rugby refs because in Rugby you can do just about anything and get away with it. Even injured players are kept on the field while the play goes on.

When I was a kid, maybe 13-16 years old I used to work directly for Baseball Umpires at the PCL (minor league) level. They were great guys and I learned a lot about officiating from them just by listening to what they talked about. it’s a shitty and thankless job for sure but we need refs for the games to be played. I think Tom makes some great points and he has been coaching for very long time.

Take a look at many high school refs and they are a bunch of fat slobs. That’s what he is talking about. Where is the preparation? College refs are a bit different in their professionalism and they are obviously some of the best and I respected a few good refs when I played.

Refs are human and they make mistakes just like the players and coaches but I think it is that attitude of power and arrogance that drives coaches crazy. I will totally agree that when a ref admits he made a mistake or blew the call there is nothing you can say. The Coach has to just to walk away.

I think refs are even trained not to talk to coaches. How stupid is that? Coaches need to understand some calls and why they were called. When a ref just turns his back and walks away and ignores a question it drives coaches nuts. I know it did for me and obviously for Tom as well.

My suggestion for a solution: Refs and Coaches have to meet to discuss this in a non competitive situation. Maybe a classroom setting. Coaches and refs have to be allowed to give their opinions on the subject and hopefully from this answers and solutions could be worked out.

As it stands now refs always are separated from Coaches at tournaments. They never mingle. I understand they have to be seen as unbiased and if they all start being close buddies then how can they be impartial? I get that.

Any other solutions?

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)


  1. Dave69
    6 years ago

    As a long time volleyball official (over 40 years HS, college and USVA) When I started officiating VB I went to as many matches as I could. I observed many very good officials and many very poor officials. I took from the good ones what I could and asked many times for ther critique of my matchs. I believe what made the good ones good was their work ethic and dedication to getting better at their craft and in helping young officials learn. They were never arrogant or condescending. They always took the time to explain a controversial call to players and coaches. Occasionally, I would have to work with a bad one,(HS only) at the collegiate level we were required to attend training every year and most were very good. They (the lazy HS) would show up late, unprepared to work the match, knew little if anything about the teams that were playing etc. In all my years of doing volleyball matches there were very few times I had not seen either team play prior to a match I was scheduled to work. If I could ask one thing of HS officials it would be stop being so damm lazy, do the work if you want to be paid. And shown respect by coaches, players and fans alike. And most importantly its not fair to the kids who put in lots of hours of practice to improve and you as an official do nothing to improve your game. Doesn’t seem fair does it. HS Basketball officials are the worst.


  2. SoccerRocks
    5 years ago

    I went to a U12 girls soccer game and the field referee was yelling at the players.


  3. John
    2 years ago

    The problem with high school referees is that most of them don’t know the game they are participating in. There are some good ones but there are many many many more that are horrible. They are there to get paid. There are no experience requirements, and no knowledge requirements. Any man or woman can have a position of power and make some money at the same time.

    It should be mandatory that’s states have proper training programs for anyone that wants to participate in calling games. If they can pass the test, both oral and practical. If they fail, no extra pocket money.