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NCAA head of officials opens up on block/charge controversy

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

It was a controversial weekend -- as if we could expect anything different -- for the NCAA Tournament's regional semifinals and finals. Two instances in particular raised outcry. A charge call on Jarnell Stokes against Michigan's Jordan Morgan, and a charage call on Arizona's Nick Johnson against Wisconsin's Josh Gasser both impacted the outcomes of games.

In both instances, the teams called for the charge in the closing seconds wound up losing their games.

NCAA Director of Officials John Adams went on CBS Sports Radio's "John Feinstein Show" to explain the calls. Remember, there was a new point of emphasis on blocks and charges this season.

“The rule was changed, and [it] only was changed with regard to players who go airborne to pass or shoot, and it was changed to allow more time for officials to get the play right,” Adams said. “So there's a higher standard for the defender to meet, number one. But number two, we were trying to create a more timely window, if you will, to be able to ascertain whether the defender was legal and then what happened after that.

Adams would not say on record if he thought the calls were correct. He seldom, if ever, does so. It's not his M.O. to throw any of his officials under the bus. And Adams is the man responsible for selecting NCAA Tournament officials.

“We try never to comment on judgment calls,” he said. “I can tell you about the rules involved in those plays, I can tell you about positioning. But second guessing either (official), while that's great for what I call the hot-stove league, (it) doesn't really help the impression of the integrity of the game."

This kind of controversy helps driving conversation, but is it a good thing? Either way, Adams knows fans and the media are probably never going to be satisfied with how situations like this are handled right after a game. The officials do not speak to the media; Adams is the one who will make any sort of public statement, and he does it from New York City.

He'll be at the Final Four this weekend, should any statement be required then, too. He also shared something kind of crazy. Someone actually got his cell phone number and berated Adams on Monday.

“We're never going to be at the level of transparency, I think, that everybody wants because of real privacy concerns,” Adams said. “And you can say (officials are) public figures. I had a call yesterday from some complete whack job from Lubbock, Texas, complaining about a play. Long story short, I don't consider myself a terribly public figure, but this guy had my cell phone number and is blasting me. This is a game. We have a lot of fun with it, we make a living out of it. But at some point, I'd sure like to get some civility interjected back in the conversation.”

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