In basketball, an official (usually called a referee) enforces the rules and maintains order in the game. The title of official also applies to the scorers and timekeepers, as well as other personnel that have an active task in maintaining the game. Basketball is regarded as among the most difficult sports to officiate due to the speed of play, complexity of rules, the case-specific interpretations of rules, and the instantaneous decision required.
There is one lead referee and one umpires, depending on whether there is a two- or three-person crew. In the NBA, the lead official is called the crew chief and the other two officials are referees. In FIBA-sanctioned play, two-man crews consist of a referee and an umpire, and three-man crews contain a referee and two umpires.
Regardless, both classes of officials have equal rights to control almost all aspects of the game. In most cases, the lead official (in FIBA, the referee) performs the jump ball to begin the contest, though NFHS and NCAA have allowed the referee to designate which official (referee or umpire) shall perform the jump ball.
In American high school and college basketball, officials wear black-and-white-striped shirts with black side panels, black pants, and black shoes. Some state high school association allow officials to wear grey shirts with black pin-stripes instead of black-and-white-striped shirts.
NBA officials wear light grey shirts with black slacks and black shoes. The NBA shirt is light grey with one black colored stripe on either shoulder, a black stripe on either side, the official's number in the center at the top on the back, and the NBA logo above the breast. NBA officials sometimes wear alternate uniforms consisting of a white shirt with light gold shoulders and black stripes. NBA Summer League officials wear the same light grey shirt but with blue shoulders. Officials can sometimes wear black shorts. The WNBA referee shirt is similar to the NBA referee shirt except that its shoulder and sleeve colors are orange, and the WNBA logo takes the place of the NBA logo.
FIBA officials wear a grey (torso) and black (sleeves) shirt, black trousers, black socks, and black shoes. Officials in competitions organized by Euroleague Basketball (company)—the Euroleague and Eurocup—wear an orange shirt. Officials in the Israel Basketball Association wear the Euroleague's orange shirt but sometimes wear royal blue shirts for contests between two Israeli teams. NBL officials wear grey shirts with black shoulders and orange stripes on the sides. The NBL logo is atop the breast and a sponsor's name is on the back. Shirts are V-neck, without a collar, and pants lack belts.
All officials wear a whistle that is used to stop play as a result of a foul or a violation on the court. Hand signals are used to indicate the nature of the infraction or to administer the game.
In higher levels of college and professional basketball, officials wear a timing device on the belt-line called PTS (Precision Timing System). The device is used by on court officials to start and stop the game clock in a timely manner, rather than waiting for the scoreboard operator (timekeeper) to do so.
Positions and responsibilities
The officials must ensure that the game runs smoothly, and this encompasses a variety of different responsibilities, from calling the game to player and spectator management. They also carry a duty of care to the players they officiate and to ensure that the court and all equipment used is in a safe and usable condition. Should there be an issue that inhibits the safe playing of the game, then it is the job of the officials to rectify the problem. Quite often, the job of an official surpasses that of the game at hand, as they must overcome unforeseen situations that may or may not have an influence on the game.
There are two standard methods for officiating a basketball game, either "two-person" or "three-person" mechanics depending on how many officials are available to work the game. In "two-person" mechanics, each official works either the lead or the trail position. The lead position is normally along the baseline of the court, with the trail position having its starting point at the free throw line extended on the left side of the court facing the basket. Officials do change position a lot during the game to cover the area in the best possible way. As the game transitions from one end of the court to the other, the lead becomes the trail and vice versa. Between the two positions, each is responsible for a specific part of the court as well as two each of the side, base or back court lines. Officials change position after certain calls (mostly when the lead official calls a defensive foul). This allows officials to alternate between positions to increase the speed of play; one official will approach the bench whilst another, usually the closest to the bench at that time, will move to occupy his position. This also prevents one official from always working one particular team's basket throughout the course of the game.
In "three-person" mechanics, the court is further divided among three officials, with the lead (baseline) official determining the position of the other two officials. Normally, the lead official will move to the side of the court in which the ball is located (strong side), particularly if there is a "post-up" player in that position. The official that is on the same sideline as the lead official then takes up a position approximately level with the top of the three-point line and becomes the "trail" official, while the third official will stand across the court near the free throw line in what is called the center position. This creates a triangle coverage of the court. Often, the lead will switch sides of the baseline during a play, requiring the trail to move down to be level with the free-throw line and become the new center, while the center will move up and become the trail. As the ball moves to the other end of the court in transition, the lead will become the trail, the trail will become the lead, and the center official will remain in the centre (unless the new "lead" moves across the baseline to cover the strong side, in which case the center official and trail would then switch positions.)
Basketball is regarded by many fans as among the most difficult sports to officiate. Usually basketball officials have only a brief moment to determine if an infraction has occurred, due to the speed of play of the game and the officials' proximity to the action. Especially difficult is the "charge/block" call as to which player is responsible for contact. Officials often rely on instant replay to review plays.
Despite the misconception that basketball is a non-contact sport, officials often let a large amount of marginal or incidental contact pass uncalled. An official must always be wary of not just what is happening around the ball, but the roughness of play going on around the whole court, adding to the job of the official.
Further complicating the job of an official is the proximity to the crowds. Unlike football or baseball, the crowd is nearly always located within a few feet of the official, as are coaches and other players on the bench. To combat this, officials are able to remove a fan from the arena with an ejection.
When a violation occurs, game action is immediately stopped. These include traveling, illegal dribbles, out-of-bounds, and other violations. The official is required to blow the whistle and immediately stop play and award the ball over to the opposing team.
Football Zebras has obtained the officiating crew rosters for the 2017 NFL season. This season, there are 8 new officials to replace officials that retired or were moved up to the league office. There are five veteran officials designated as swing officials, matching last season’s record-level bench. The swing officials will move between crews through the season, and include include two umpires, two line-of-scrimmage officials, and a deep wing. Umpire Bill Schuster once again is listed as a swing official, however last season he was moved to a crew in preseason to replace an injured official. Head linesman Jim Howey is in his third stint as a swing official, having previously been one in 2011 due to an injury and continuing into 2012.
For the second consecutive season, there are no new “white hats,” as everyone from the referee position remains. Four crew chiefs were added from 2014-15.
This season, the NFL has renamed the head linesman position to down judge, in deference to use a gender-neutral term.
Crew members are listed with their years of NFL experience, including the upcoming season, the crews they were on last season, the college attended, and occupations. A replay official is assigned to each crew, but the replay assistant is assigned to the stadium, much like the chain crews and clock operators.
Veteran officials who have changed positions from last season are indicated at the bottom of each crew list.
*indicates an official who is on the same crew as last season.
|R||122||Brad Allen||4||Pembroke State||non-profit CEO|
|U||11||Fred Bryan||9||*||Northern Iowa||superintendent, juvenile correctional facility|
|DJ||48||Jim Mello||14||*||Northeastern||facilities manager|
|LJ||40||Brian Bolinger||1||NA||Indiana State||corporate safety director|
|FJ||97||Tom Hill||19||*||Carson Newman||teacher|
|SJ||26||Jabir Walker||3||Parry||Murray State||math teacher|
|BJ||83||Shawn Hochuli||4||*||Claremont||financial advisor|
|R||66||Walt Anderson||22||Texas||college officiating coordinator, retired dentist|
|U||124||Carl Paganelli||18||(swing)||Michigan State||retired federal probation officer|
|DJ||6||Jerod Phillips||2||*||Northeastern State||elementary school teacher|
|LJ||18||Byron Boston||23||*||Austin||tax consultant|
|FJ||117||John Jenkins||4||*||St. Mary’s||sales executive|
|SJ||125||Laird Hayes||23||*||Princeton||owner of football camps for high school and youth|
|BJ||119||Greg Wilson||10||*||USC||law enforcement|
|U||128||Ramon George||2||*||Lenoir-Rhyne||financial underwriter|
|DJ||94||Hugo Cruz||3||*||Texas-Pan American||investment manager|
|LJ||8||Dana McKenzie||10||Boger||Toledo||claims adjuster|
|FJ||73||Joe Larrew||16||*||St Louis||attorney|
|SJ||109||Dyrol Prioleau||11||Triplette||Johnson C Smith||manager, law firm|
|BJ||17||Steve Patrick||4||*||Jacksonville State||owner, supply company|
|R||23||Jerome Boger||14||Morehouse College||retired commercial insurance underwriter|
|U||49||Rich Hall||14||*||Arizona||custom cabinetry|
|DJ||134||Ed Camp||18||*||William Paterson||physical education teacher|
|LJ||63||Mike Carr||1||NA||Wisconsin||athletic director|
|FJ||103||Eugene Hall||4||*||North Texas||federal agent|
|SJ||87||Walt Coleman IV||3||*||Southern Methodist||financial advisor|
|BJ||112||Tony Steratore||18||*||California (Pa.)||co-owner, supply company|
|R||51||Carl Cheffers||18||California-Irvine||sales manager|
|U||19||Clay Martin||3||Hochuli||Tulsa||high school basketball coach|
|DJ||100||Tom Symonette||14||Allen||Florida||certified public accountant|
|LJ||79||Kent Payne||14||*||Nebraska Wesleyan||teacher|
|FJ||31||Mearl Robinson||1||NA||Air Force||instructor|
|SJ||88||Brad Freeman||4||*||Mississippi State||sports park director|
|BJ||5||Jim Quirk||8||*||Middlebury||financial advisor|
|R||65||Walt Coleman||29||Arkansas||manager dairy processor|
|DJ||74||Derick Bowers||15||*||East Central||sales representative|
|LJ||16||Kevin Codey||3||*||Western New England||middle school physical education teacher|
|FJ||1||Scott Novak||4||Cheffers||Phoenix||sales manager|
|SJ||95||James Coleman||13||(swing)||Arkansas||electrical engineer|
|BJ||111||Terrence Miles||10||*||Arizona State||quality control manager|
|R||99||Tony Corrente||23||Cal State-Fullerton||retired educator|
|U||76||Alan Eck||2||*||Bloomsburg State||tax manager|
|DJ||13||Patrick Turner||4||*||Cal State-Long Beach||plant manager|
|LJ||2||Bart Longson||3||*||Brigham Young||co-founder and CEO, digital finance company|
|FJ||82||Buddy Horton||19||*||Oregon State||water service worker|
|SJ||25||Ryan Dickson||1||NA||Utah||commercial real estate developer|
|BJ||30||Todd Prukop||9||*||Cal State-Fullerton||medical sales representative|
|R||85||Ed Hochuli||28||Texas-El Paso||attorney|
|U||14||Shawn Smith||3||Triplette||Ferris State||internal auditor|
|DJ||98||Greg Bradley||9||*||Tennessee||chemical engineer|
|LJ||59||Rusty Baynes||8||*||Auburn-Montgomery||general manager, safety services|
|FJ||104||Dale Shaw||5||*||Allegheny||pharmaceutical sales|
|SJ||55||Alex Kemp||4||*||Central Michigan||insurance agent|
|BJ||93||Scott Helverson||15||*||Iowa||sales, printing and promotions|
|R||35||John Hussey||16||Idaho State||sales representative, retail logistics group|
|U||115||Tony Michalek||16||*||Indiana||USA Football officiating director|
|DJ||123||Ed Walker||4||Steratore||San Jose State||real estate management|
|LJ||107||Ron Marinucci||21||*||Glassboro State||vice president, novelty cone company|
|FJ||86||Jimmy Buchanan||9||*||South Carolina State||insurance agent|
|BJ||61||Keith Ferguson||18||*||San Jose State||sales|
|R||77||Terry McAulay||20||Louisiana State||college officiating coordinator|
|U||54||Steve Woods||1||NA||Wabash||financial advisor|
|DJ||91||Jerry Bergman||16||*||Robert Morris||sales executive|
|LJ||101||Carl Johnson||14||Morelli||Nicholls State||full-time official|
|FJ||72||Michael Banks||16||Vinovich||Illinois State||carpenter foreman|
|SJ||120||Jonah Monroe||3||*||Arkansas||systems engineer|
|BJ||39||Rich Martinez||4||*||Canisius||sales manager|
|R||135||Pete Morelli||21||St. Mary’s||high school principal|
|U||92||Bryan Neale||4||*||Indiana||sales consultant|
|DJ||22||Steve Stelljes||16||*||Friends||business planning manager|
|LJ||47||Tim Podraza||10||Cheffers||Nebraska||corporate real estate|
|FJ||126||Brad Rogers||1||NA||Lubbock Christian||college professor|
|SJ||41||Boris Cheek||22||*||Morgan State||director of operations and management|
|BJ||12||Greg Steed||15||*||Howard||computer systems analyst|
|R||132||John Parry||18||Purdue||financial advisor|
|U||131||Mark Pellis||4||*||Allegheny||financial advisor|
|DJ||90||Mike Spanier||19||(swing)||St Cloud State||middle school principal|
|LJ||45||Jeff Seeman||16||*||Minnesota||brokerage sales|
|FJ||118||David Meslow||7||Allen||Augsburg College||marketing manager|
|SJ||7||Keith Washington||10||*||Virginia Military Institute||program financial analyst|
|BJ||46||Perry Paganelli||20||*||Hope College||retired high school administrator|
|R||114||Gene Steratore||15||Kent State||co-owner, supply company|
|U||81||Roy Ellison||15||(swing)||Savannah State||technical staff member|
|DJ||24||David Oliver||1||NA||Baker||information systems manager|
|LJ||108||Gary Arthur||21||*||Wright State||president, commercial printing company|
|FJ||116||Mike Weatherford||16||*||Oklahoma State||energy trader|
|SJ||29||Adrian Hill||8||Blakeman||Buffalo||software engineer|
|BJ||105||Dino Paganelli||12||*||Aquinas College||educator|
|R||62||Ron Torbert||8||Michigan State||attorney|
|U||121||Paul King||9||*||Nicholls State||school teacher|
|DJ||53||Sarah Thomas||3||Triplette||Mobile||pharmaceutical sales representative|
|FJ||50||Aaron Santi||3||*||Southern Oregon||middle school principal|
|SJ||3||Scott Edwards||19||Triplette||Alabama||environmental engineer|
|BJ||38||Greg Yette||8||*||Howard||defense contractor|
|R||42||Jeff Triplette||22||Wake Forest||restructuring consultant|
|U||71||Ruben Fowler||12||Cheffers||Huston-Tillotson||retired firefighter|
|DJ||32||Jeff Bergman||26||*||Robert Morris||president and chief executive officer, medical services|
|LJ||113||Danny Short||1||NA||North Carolina-Charlotte||executive officer, global sales operations|
|FJ||80||Greg Gautreaux||16||Torbert||SW Louisiana||athletic programs manager|
|SJ||43||Terry Brown||12||Coleman||Tennessee||probation supervisor|
|BJ||133||Steve Freeman||17||*||Mississippi State||custom home builder (former NFL player)|
|R||52||Bill Vinovich||13||San Diego||accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor|
|U||102||Bruce Stritesky||12||*||Embry Riddle||airline pilot|
|DJ||110||Phil McKinnely||16||*||UCLA||inventory control (former NFL player)|
|FJ||89||Jon Lucivansky||9||(swing)||Minnesota||college educator|
|SJ||60||Gary Cavaletto||15||*||Hancock||general manager, agricultural operations|
|BJ||78||Greg Meyer||16||*||Texas Christian||banker|
|R||4||Craig Wrolstad||15||Washington||athletic director|
|U||20||Barry Anderson||11||*||North Carolina State||builder/developer|
|DJ||28||Mark Hittner||21||*||Pittsburg State||investment broker|
|LJ||10||Julian Mapp||9||*||Grambling State||software QA tester|
|SJ||21||Jeff Lamberth||16||*||Texas A&M||attorney|