Which is Better 2-Person or 3-Person Officiating Crews?

Three person officiating in Maine was first used in the 70’s. I used 3 person crews the very first year it was introduced. three person officiating did not catch on as the officials hoped it would.

Today, some schools use three officials for some games, and a few schools use them for all of their home games.

Three officials have been  used for all post season prelims and tournament games for quite a few years.

Basketball used to be a finesse game, basketball skills vs. basketball skills in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s, but in the 80’s it started to get more physical so that today in many cases it is a game of wrestling where hand checking, holding, pushing, grabbing is taught by some coaches. These are all fouls if a team gains an advantage or is put at a disadvantage by Rule 10-6-1.

I coached in 5 decades and always preferred to have my teams play basketball by the rules and like a ballet, thus I wanted the game called tightly. Thus, I favored 3 officials and I always used 3 officials most of the time for home games when I coached in the 70’s and 80’s 90’s and 2000’s.

As far as calling fouls three eyes certainly see more then 4 eyes. Most Coaches who like to have their teams play real physical and try to intimidate their opponents want the game called loosely.

3 person crews gives the game better floor coverage by dividing it intoi 3 areas instead of just 2 areas. 3 gives better coverage off the ball.

Why has the game changed from a ballet to a wrestling match?

It is because  the Television of D1 Games and NBA Games where athletes playing basketball rely on their physical  size,  athletic speed , jumping ability, and strength, istead of using basketball skills. It is athletes playing basketball not basketball players playing basketball.

Fans, players, coaches,, etc. see the game as it is played on TV and those teams have athletes, however, that is the way that many  think the game should be played today below the college level also..

Coaches below the college level who want their teams to play this style  do not have the athletes to play the game the way it is on TV. They do not have to do as much coaching as coaches who try to play ballet basketball, as it is easier to play defense if you are allowed to handcheck, hold, push, grab, bump, etc. This is also one of the biggest  reasons why we have so many low high school game scores today in the 30’s and 40’s.

Anytime a team that is a finesse, ballet team plays a wrestling team they are at a disadvantage if the game is not called by rule 10-6-1-3.

Rule 10, Section 6 –  Article 1 reads: a player shall not push, hold, charge, trip, or impede  the progress of an opponent by extending arm(s), shoulder)s, hip)s or knee(s), or by bending his/her body into other than a normal position, nor use any rough tactics…

Rule 10 Article 3 …a player shall not  use  his/her hands on an opponent in anyway that inhibits the freedom of movement of the opponent acts as an aid to a player on starting or stopping.

While I had great success playing the finesse. ballet game we always had to be prepared for how each individual game was officiated. We knew in advance that teams would press us, be as physical as the officials allowed them to be and that meant we had to adjust to how the game was being officiated.

We had three speeds for our ballet, 1. slow, 2. very slow and 3 very darn slow. If the game was called tightly by rule 10-6 we played slow, If the game was called some where between the ballet and the wresting match we played very slow and if it was an all out wrestling match we played very damn slow.

My teams never retaliated by playing the same wrestling game if our opponents were using wrestling holds.

We just slowed the game down to the very, darn slow version of nothing but a layup.

With post season just several  weeks away, coaches and AD’s should think about hiring 3 officials for their last 3 or 4 home games to get their players prepared for 3 person  officiating.

Over the years when we were using 2 officials for all games regular or post season our scorebooks usually showed that more fouls were called in the post season then during the regular season,  with 3 officials it  is usually going to be more then when there was just 2 officials during the regular season and then more again in the post season with 3 officials.

So it is really the style of defensive play that decides which is better… 2 or 3 officials.. The defensive style is dictated by coaches, but  rule 10-6 should be enforced by the officials

If you are interested in suggesting a subject for my column please e-mail me at mrp17@roadrunner.com. Also, check out my Bangor Daily News Blog at bangordailynews.com for more basketball articles.