SPORTS OPINION | Spectators need to respect referees

Colleges offer students the opportunity to have academic success, but many also provide a great opportunity to attend all sporting events for free, which encourages students to support their school and favorite team.

The excitement of college basketball brings a lot of students and other spectators to games to cheer for our Mountain Lions. They bring in their school spirit and pride and some even take it to a new level. While this can be positive, this excitement can become a problem when it affects the game.

Referees, especially in basketball, have the difficult job of paying close attention to their appointed section and making the right calls. A college basketball game generally has three referees for every 10 players on the court. A single referee must watch multiple players and look for any violations between all of them.

In the process, they make mistakes, which often means making a bad call. You may disagree with the referee, but it doesn’t give you the right to boo them or call them out. It’s likely they know it was a bad call on their end, and they don’t need to hear complaints about it from the spectators. Students should leave it to the coaches to decide if they want to challenge it or let it go.

Not only does it put pressure on referees, but it can put pressure on the players via “The Spectator Effect.” According to Medium, “The Spectator Effect” refers to how players perform based on the positive and negative comments from the audience.

With basketball, players will perform better when they receive praise from the audience but can perform worse when there is added pressure. Negative comments toward the referees create that.

According to a blog post from InnerDrive, negative comments from the audience can push referees to make a call favoring one team or the other, which is unethical.

Responding negatively towards the referees’ calls is unnecessary and doesn’t benefit anyone or help persuade them to make a different call. It’s disruptive to the game, the players, the coaching staff and the audience that is there to enjoy the game.

Referees listen for the crowd to yell obnoxious comments towards them, giving them a reason to eject them from a game, just like they make sure the players or coaches hear what they have to say.

The New York Times wrote an article titled “Examining Fans Rights to Jeer at Games,” which said that fans don’t have the right to make hated comments towards referees, and they result in an ejection. Many argue that they have the right because of the first amendment and freedom of speech, but in the end, the referees have the right to throw out those protestors that question their calls.

Positive energy means your team will perform better. Cheer for your team and cheer louder when a call is given that is in favor of your team, but don’t resort to negative comments when it doesn’t go their way. Instead, encourage your team and help them bounce back and regain control on the court.

As we are in the middle of basketball season with many home games left, respect the referees on the court and allow them to do their jobs. Cheer for your team, have fun and be kind to the referees and players.

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