Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lane Violation: Craft, Ohio State Latest Casualties of NCAA Basketball Free Throw Rule

Ohio State Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft was called for a lane violation after purposely missing the second of a one-and-one free throw situation toward the end of the OSU vs. Kansas Final Four semi-final game.

This has been the NCAA Tournament of the lane violation, the March Madness of fundamental, yet technical basketball rules. Somehow, this has also been the postseason of lapses: in judgment, in memory and in knowledge.

It certainly is no comfort to Ohio State that Craft had been warned about lane violations earlier in this year's NCAA Tournament. When warned by an official not to cross the restraining line too early during a free throw on March 17, Craft acknowledged his understanding: "I saw it yesterday [with Notre Dame]."

Speaking of Notre Dame, that game was one of two huge situations in which the lane violation has taken a team out of contention late in a ballgame: 16-seed UNC Asheville was correctly penalized for a lane violation while trying to upset No. 1 Syracuse, while the aforementioned Fighting Irish frittered away its own opportunity to shoot bonus free throws in the waning moments of its loss to Xavier, that call having been made by referee Mike Stuart.

For those wondering why mention the official's name, we will see Mike Stuart on Monday during the NCAA National Championship game between Kansas and Kentucky.

Today, however, it was Tom Eades, Jamie Luckie and Pat Adams who were tasked with officiating Craft's over-exuberant end-of-game sequence.

To reiterate once and for all—and with the hope that this call doesn't have to rear its head once again during Monday's National Championship game—NCAA Basketball Rule 9-1-d, "the free-thrower shall not leave the semicircle before the try contacts the ring, flange, or backboard or until the free throw ends."

NCAA Basketball Rule 9-1-c, "the free-thrower shall not break the vertical plane of the free-throw line with either foot until the ball strikes the ring, flange, or backboard or until the free throw ends."

UEFL Draft 2012: Announcements: 2012 Appeals Board, Reminders, Crew Chief Deadline Extension

This year, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League has established an Appeals Board to rule on issues of challenged Qualities of Correctness. Comprised of three rotating voting members including both UEFL Commissioners and a roster of five at-large volunteers, the 2012 pre-season nomination and election process has now concluded and the inaugural UEFL Appeals Board has been established.

During the season, members may challenge rulings of Quality of Correctness, Umpire Classification and other variables as specified by UEFL Rule 6-2. If such a challenge is requested, the Appeals Board shall convene to render a just disposition and may either confirm or uphold, defer or overturn the original ruling. In 2012, all actions taken by the Appeals Board will be clearly documented and recorded on the Appeals Board page located on the UEFL Portal.

The following candidates have been named to the 2012 UEFL Appeals Board as per UEFL Rule 6-4-a:
  • tmac (35%), a frequent contributor to the UEFL: "met and umpired with some of the men who are on the major league and minor league fields, [I] look forward to helping people understand plays and positioning and why calls were made."
  • Albertaumpire (34%), UEFL rookie: a Level 3 umpire in Canada and 2012 graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School.
  • BillMueller (31%), UEFL veteran (26th place, UEFL '11): "Former minor league umpire and Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring instructor. Scored 199 correct out of 200 on JEAPU final exam."
  • RichMSN (26%), UEFL veteran (8th place, UEFL '11): "Student of the rules -- have copies of Jim Evans Annotated, Jaksa/Roder, Wendelstedt Manual, PBUC Manual, MLB Umpire Manual, Childress's BRD, etc. Familiar with UEFL rules and what goes into QOC decisions."
  • yawetag (21%), UEFL veteran (5th place, UEFL '11): "Because of my experience in baseball and UEFL, I feel I am a strong candidate for the Appeals Board."
Congratulations to our 2012 Appeals Board members and thank you to all candidates for tremendous interest in this unique position.

Reminders: The 2012 UEFL Live Secondary Draft occurs Sunday, April 1 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time. For those participating, it is recommended you access the UEFL website approximately 5-10 minutes prior to draft time for attendance purposes and to familiarize yourself with the Live Draft process. For those who have not yet submitted Primary or Secondary Umpires and will not participate in the Live Draft, you must submit your Primary and/or Secondary Umpires ASAP via e-mail or as a reply to this or any other applicable UEFL post. Failure to submit Primary and/or Secondary Umpire selections prior to the Live Draft (for those not participating in the Live Draft) may result in your being assigned random umpires for the season.

Extension of Crew Chief Deadline: Because the complete MLB Crew list has not yet been released, the deadline for filing your Crew Chief selection has been extended to 10:05 a.m. Pacific Time on April 7, 2012, which is the first pitch of the first game on April 7, the first Saturday of the regular season. With all teams scheduled to have played at least one MLB game by the conclusion of play on April 6, all crew information learned from these games will post to the UEFL Portal's Umpire Roster / Stats page. You may reference this page at any time in selecting your remaining umpire(s).

The injury provision as specified by UEFL Rule 1-5 is not affected by this alteration; John Hirschbeck and Bruce Dreckman have been designated by the UEFL as injured/ill umpires and members that have drafted either person may follow the procedures of UEFL Rule 1-5 to alter their selections. At present, only one UEFL member is affected and may apply Rule 1-5.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NFL Owners Approve Some Rule Change Proposals

Today, the NFL owners met to vote on the various proposed rules changes proposed by the Competition Committee last week. Last week we examined the proposed changes. Here are the results of the owners votes. The owners approved some proposals, while rejecting others.

1) Instant Replay Decisions Made by Booth: Rejected
Ultimately, the owners decided this was a radical change to the replay system and they did not want to take the power of decision-making off the field.

2) Automatic Booth Reviews Expanded for All Turnover Plays: Approved
Owners apparently were satisfied last season with the automatic review of all scoring plays enough to approve the expansion to all turnover plays. This will mean the most critical plays in a game will all be subjected to automatic review. This will allow coaches to keep their challenge flags in their pockets and socks more often and using it for plays that do not involved a score or a turnover more effectively.

3) Uniform Overtime Rule: Expanded Postseason Overtime to Regular Season: Approved
The longing for uniformity in rules won out in a 30 to 2 vote for the NFL. Owners did not want a difference in postseason and regular season rules (besides the allowance of ties). Now, for all regular season and postseason games, a field goal on the first possession of overtime cannot end the game.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Referees

With the Final Four just around the corner, the following NCAA officials have been named to this prestigious round of the tournament taking place in New Orleans over the March 30 weekend. Included are the referees' names, hometowns, a brief biography and a list of most common conferences worked:
  • Pat Adams (Mobile, Ala.) has worked NCAA Division I basketball since the 1990s and has officiated the NCAA Tournament annually since the 1996-1997 season. Was an alternate at the 2010 Final Four; cousin of NBA referee Bennie Adams. SEC and C-USA Conferences.
  • Roger Ayers (Roanoke, Va.) has worked NCAA D1 basketball since 1994 and the NCAA Tournament since 2006-07. Was part of the LA-Lafayette vs. W-Kentucky, six men on the floor game. ACC and Big East Conferences.
  • Joe DeRosa (North Canton, Ohio) has worked NCAA D1 since 2010-11, the NCAA Tournament since 2010-11 and worked NBA for 21-years prior to college, including 11 NBA Finals. At the time DeRosa cited his retirement as "refereeing for all of the wrong reasons." By officiating college, DeRosa is able to spend more time at home: this is his first Final Four. Big 12 and Horizon Conferences.
  • Tom Eades (Central City, Ky.) has worked NCAA D1 and NCAA Tourney since the 1990s and the 2010 National Championship Game. This is his third Final Four in five years. SEC and Missouri Valley Conferences.
  • Verne Harris (Denver, Co.) has worked NCAA D1 since 1987 and college since 1980. Has officiated the NCAA Tournament since 1997 and the National Championship twice: 2004 and 2005. Worked the 2011 Final Four. WAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 Conferences.
  • Les Jones (Chesapeake, Va.) has worked D1 basketball for 15 years and will work his fourth consecutive Final Four: he worked 92 games in 2009-2010 and is poised to have worked nearly 90 by this season's end. ACC and Big East Conferences
  • Jamie Luckie (Charlotte, Nc.) has worked D1 basketball for nearly 20 years and has refereed NCAA Tournament games since 2000-01. This is his third straight Final Four. ACC, SEC and Big East Conferences.
  • Doug Shows (Rome, Ga.) has worked D1 basketball since the early 90s and the NCAA Tournament annually since 1998, with a one-year gap in 2003. This is his second consecutive Final Four. SEC and Big East Conferences.
  • Mike Stuart (Maryville, Tn.) has worked regular D1 basketball since 1994 and the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and will have worked nearly 90 games by this season's end. It was Stuart who correctly called a lane violation against Notre Dame during their loss to Xavier earlier this tournament. This is his third Final Four in four years. Big 12 and Big East Conferences.
  • Mark Whitehead (Denham Springs, La.) has worked the NCAA Tournament every year since 1996 and will have worked nearly 90 games by season's end (high of 95 in 2009-10). This is his second consecutive Final Four and third overall. Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.
Congratulations to these ten officials and best of luck during Final Four weekend.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pre-Season Ejection 003: John Tumpane (1)

HP Umpire John Tumpane ejected Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Brewers-Royals game. With none out and none on, Francoeur took a 2-2 fastball from Brewers pitcher Marco Estrada for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located belt high and outside, the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 5-0. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 7-3.

This is John Tumpane (74)'s first pre-season ejection of 2012.
No points are awarded for ejections during the Spring Training period (Phase i), as per Rules 2 and 4.

This is the 3rd Spring Training ejection of 2012.
This is the 1st player ejection of the 2012 pre-season.
Prior to his ejection, Francoeur was 0-2 in the contest.

Wrap: Brewers at Royals, 3/25/12
Video: None

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball