I am writing this blog after watching the most disgusting display of poor officiating that I have ever seen. It happened at the Montini vs. Geneva girl's basketball game last night, and left fans wondering why there is no consistency in officiating games. The game itself was a great game. The athletes and coaches played a great performance and fought to the end. The officals embarassed the game, the sport, and the IHSA.
This is not a rant about losing a game that could have been won. Geneva had every opportunity to win the game without the interference of the referees and could have done so. They own their loss and the reasons for it.
However, the lack of consistency in officiating was miserable, and the refusal of the refs to make obvious calls of fouls against the home team late in the game left a stench of blatant homerism and biased officiating. It took place all game ... but the final "non-call" with 12.5 seconds remaining caused all fans — even Montini fans — to boo and protest.
To describe the moment: Geneva had come back from a 11+ point deficit and was within 1 point and was in the bonus if a foul were to take place. They had a play set up and it was developing perfectly, requiring Montini make desperate defensive moves that involved shoving, tackling, and holding a Geneva player — tossing her out of bounds — and the refs did not call any foul. The stands erupted — on both sides — in disbelief. Shouts filled the gym and both sides witnessed blatant homerism. Had the foul been called, Geneva would have its rightful chance to shoot free throws, and possibly beat Montini, a team that prides itself on rankings and recruiting efforts. By not making the call, the ref handed Montini a game that should have been earned — but now goes down in the stenches of homer officiating. This diminishes the play of Montini as much as it diminishes the play of Geneva, and the IHSA needs to step in, review the game, and call a technical foul on the entire officiating crew! Blatant homerism is cheap — it diminishes the game and the players — and it exposes the pressures on certain schools that need to recruit student athletes.
I call it like I see it — it was so blatant that the Montini team should take no pride in the shameful way that the game ended, and the refs should apologize to all fans of the sport.
There needs to be accountability to fans and athletes who play the games, to provide a quality officiating crew on the court and field at all times. What took place at Montini was an embarrassment to all sports fans, athletes, and to the IHSA. It was blatant ... it was favoritism... and it was wrong.
Win or lose, the athletes who put in their health and reputation on the line and dedicate their time ... should be allowed to get a fair game and neutral officiating. Montini, and the officiating crew at last night's game, should be entirely embarrassed and should publicly apologize for their less-than-rec-league officiating performance. And they should refund the $5 per person charged to see such a display of homerism.