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NCAA pledges to use younger officials
The NCAA’s supervisor of officials John Adams has begun a movement to get younger.
Adams, who was upset with the end-of-game officiating in Wednesday’s St. John’s victory over Rutgers at the Big East tournament, told FOXSports.com that he will have no shortage of first-year referees working this year’s NCAA tournament.
"The trend will continue in introducing quality, young referees to the NCAA tournament,” said Adams, who is in charge of selecting the 98 officials for next week’s NCAA tournament.
Two of the referees that worked Wednesday's game — Jim Burr and Tim Higgins — are of the veteran variety. A Big East official didn’t know their exact ages, but guessed they were in their 60s.
Burr, Higgins and the third ref, Earl Walton, missed a few calls down the stretch — none more glaring than when St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee traveled, then clearly stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left and proceeded to toss the ball into the crowd while celebrating what turned out to be a 65-63 victory.
Adams told FOXSports.com that not “working until the end of a game, any game, is unacceptable.”
"They need to work until the final horn,” he said.
Surprisingly, fiery Rutgers coach Mike Rice — after watching the replay on YouTube — was somewhat subdued after the game.
"There was a mistake,” Rice said over and over. "They will admit it.
... We have the greatest officials in America.”
"Brownlee caught it, took one or two dribbles and started running,” Rutgers senior Jonathan Mitchell said after the loss. "He clearly stepped out of bounds, then he threw it in the air.”
"Maybe it was just a little home cooking," added Mitchell, noting the fact that St. John's plays regular season games in Madison Square Garden.
Rice didn’t even see that Brownlee stepped out of bounds — as he was busy arguing that Gil Biruta was fouled while trying to catch the inbounds pass.
The refs also missed a clear foul on Rutgers guard Mike Coburn’s drive to the basket.
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