Blog Entry

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:21 pm

Posted by Jeff Borzello

In the wake of Wednesday’s controversial finish to St. John’s vs. Rutgers, the three referees responsible for the non-calls have voluntarily withdrawn from the Big East tournament, the conference announced on Thursday. 

With 1.7 seconds remaining in yesterday’s game, St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee picked up a loose ball, took three steps without dribbling and also went out of bounds before rifling the ball into the crowd. No violations were called.

Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton – the three officials – were the subject of much discussion for their failure to blow the whistle.

John Adams, the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, expressed his displeasure to Andy Katz of

“Not officiating to the end of a game is unacceptable,” Adams said.

Focusing on the final two seconds of the game doesn’t even begin to look at the judgment calls from the previous eight seconds, when there were no-calls on a drive by Rutgers guard Mike Coburn, an over-the-back by St. John’s and a potential foul at mid-court when the Scarlet Knights’ Gil Biruta lost the ball.

Even if those calls were questionable, they were judgment calls nonetheless. If the referees didn’t think there was a foul on any of the three plays, that’s their opinion.

What isn’t a judgment call is a player picking up a loose ball and running with it before stepping out of bounds and throwing it into the stands with the clock still running.

Burr, Higgins and Walton didn’t deserve to referee another Big East tournament game this season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we didn’t see them in the NCAA tournament.

Missing a foul call or swallowing the whistle on a bang-bang play is fine. But a trio of referees can’t simply stop officiating.

That’s exactly what the three referees did at the end of St.. John’s vs. Rutgers. And it’s unacceptable.

The Big East begins its quarterfinal round on Thursday. 

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Since: Apr 9, 2007
Posted on: March 11, 2011 1:09 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

That is a good point. I am not a Rutgers fan but they got hosed.  The refs should not be allowed to ref together EVER

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:20 am

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

What seems to have been completely overlooked in the end-of-the-game senario is that the throwing of the ball into the stands with time on the clock should have resulted in a technical against S. John's, which would have given Rutgers a free throw and possession after the free throw.  If the free throw was made, then Rutgers need only a two point field goal to win.   I do believe that in the interest of honest basketball, these three refs should have their officiating credentials permanently revoked.

Since: Mar 11, 2011
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:17 am

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

Just like they managed to avoid that kind of situation against Oklahoma State? Yeah, they're never in close games. Please.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:09 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

imak -

They might not have won....but the problem is that due to the missed calls...they did not even get a chance when there was clearly time left on the clock when the violations happened.
I don't really care who wins the Big East tournament since I am a Big 12 fan myself (as yourself going by the KU helmet)....this was horrendous, though.  Put yourself in the shoes of a Rutgers fan though.  Had this happened to KU (not saying it would since I believe KU would have done enough to not be in that situation...but I digress) would be going insane over it.

Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: March 10, 2011 5:18 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

Which call?  The last twenty plus seconds was not officiated at all.  Three fouls that should have been called.  Let them slide on two of them?  What are the chances they miss three; then miss the guy out of bounds and throwing the ball into the crowd with almost two seconds left in a tournament game on national tv?  I really couldn't believe it when it was happening.  And I wanted St Johns to win.

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: March 10, 2011 5:10 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

But would Rutgers have won the game even if the refs had gotten the call right?

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:38 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

In this age of video re-plays, how do those refs get away with this.  I did not have a dog in this fight, but I hate to see such unfairness.  Good grief!

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 3:47 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

mxvega, you are 100% right.  Something does smell fishy.  This isn't just a blown call, the dude ran with the ball and stepped out of bounds with 1.7 left.  That isn't a judgement call.  They should be fired for this nonsense and investigated.  No one can be that horrid, can they?  That was the absolute worst officiating to end a game that I have ever seen.  And I could care less about Rutgers or St. Johns.  It was an embarrassment to everyone involved and everyone watching.

Since: Mar 10, 2011
Posted on: March 10, 2011 3:37 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

Tim Burr WAS one the best referees in the game.   The last two seasons he has been too slow getting down the court, out of position and has missed the calls many times.   Tim Burr has to go.    Whether he takes a sabbatical for a year and gets himself back into shape or just forced to retire.   Either one.   Make it happen.

Since: Jun 15, 2008
Posted on: March 10, 2011 3:29 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

What I would like to see done, is whenever a referee swallows a whistle and decides the outcome of a game by not calling fouls, travels and out of bounds an immediate suspension WITH PAY and have an investigation done into their finances.  I don't care how great a referee was or is...ignoring a game and deciding the outcome sounds fishy to me.
Also, the Big East Commissioner had the power to put the teams back out in the court.  I understand that there might not be rules in place to do so.  But it's your league and your reputation on the line and you can create prescedent by having the teams go back out for the 1.7.  By not doing so, only amplfies a feeling that SJU had some home cooking.  Don't get me wrong, I love SJU...Berry, Mullin and Jackson were my favorites growing up.  But right is right.  

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