Women Officials For Men -- Female Refs On NCAA Basketball Horizon
Scripps Howard News Service
First came women in men's locker rooms. Next will be women in men's basketball games.
No one is willing to predict a date, but eventually the NCAA will have women officiating men's contests.
``There's no doubt in my mind it will happen,'' said Hank Nichols, an ex-official who evaluates refs for the NCAA. ``I don't know if you can put a time on it. It's just a matter of when an individual conference supervisor feels like one of them is ready. If a woman is one of the best candidates, I'm sure it will happen.''
Adds John Guthrie, who oversees basketball for the Southeastern Conference, ``I think we will see it. There's no telling when. But on the horizon, I think we will. The opportunity will be there for a qualified person.''
Women made two notable advances into men's hoops this past year. Kentucky hired Bernadette Locke as an assistant coach (though head coach Rick Pitino said the recent cut in coaching staffs at the NCAA Convention likely will eliminate her position) and three women officiated an exhibition game between LSU and a team from Australia.
Neither Guthrie nor Nichols know of a woman who is about to apply for a men's officiating job. But at least one who regularly does SEC women's games - June Corteau - has expressed an interest. Men, by the way, regularly officiate - and coach - women's basketball.
To break the ref barrier, a women must first apply to a conference and then be judged capable.
``I don't think there are a whole lot of women who are capable, though there are some,'' said Nichols. ``I don't mean it in a sexist manner. I mean it in experience with people who play above the rim.
``The intensity level from the standpoint of the players is probably not any different, but the intensity of the atmosphere is different, particularly at the top level of Division I. You get a full arena with TV and that's something that if you're not used to, even a male official, is something you need to block out.''
-- And you thought you had problems. Listen to coach Terry Kunze of Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Minnesota: ``The job opened late and we had 12 players when I got here. We lost five players to grades last month. We're down to seven players. We're so worried about someone fouling out that we have a new defense. All our players stand under the basket and yell, `I hope you miss.' ''
-- Stanford won its fifth straight against seventh-ranked UCLA Wednesday night, including two in a row in fabled Pauley Pavilion. Before last season, Stanford had lost 24 straight at Pauley. Apparently, UCLA has begun to flinch every time it plays Stanford. ``UCLA doesn't like us at all,'' reserve guard Kenny Hicks said. ``And we don't like them either. Our team causes them problems because we're so big and strong. I know L.A. people don't like to get pushed around. And our team will push, push, push until you get frustrated.''
-- Since 1986 when George Felton took over as coach, South Carolina's attendance has risen from an average of 5,417 fans a game to 10,400 so far this year. At $10 a ticket, that's roughly a $50,000 increase in revenue each outing (student tickets cost less). The 13-3 Gamecocks have three sellouts so far in 12,000-seat Frank McGuire Arena, the most in a season since 1972-73.
-- As Providence guard Eric Murdock continues to pile up 30-point games, the compliments keep coming. Marty Blake, the NBA's chief talent scout: ``Eric Murdock is one of the finest all-around guards in the country. He's not only a fine offensive player but a guard who plays the total game. He is definitely an NBA prospect.''
Georgetown coach John Thompson: ``He can create with the ball and works hard to get the ball. You're a senior and the leading scorer, so he's the guy you expect to take over the game and hit the big shots.''
Celtic boss Dave Gavitt: ``I've seen Eric play against both Arizona and Seton Hall and those performances are equal to any of the great Providence guards' efforts over the years.''
-- Don't expect Alonzo Mourning's strained arch to keep him on the sidelines for Georgetown much longer. As Thompson said after a loss to Providence, ``Something tells me that if we keep losing, he'll get well fast.'' Since the injury, Georgetown is 5-4 against Division I teams.
-- Maryland lost point guard Walt Williams for at least the next month after he suffered a leg fracture in a game last Saturday. Williams led the Terps in scoring, assists and steals while ranking in the top 10 of five ACC statistical categories.
-- Last season, Illinois State earned an NCAA tournament berth in coach Bob Bender's rookie season by winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The Redbirds finished 18-13, barely losing to Michigan in the opening round. This season, Illinois State started 0-12 before beating Indiana State 56-55 on Monday.
-- Oklahoma State already has four road victories, matching its combined total of the previous two seasons. . . . When Texas-Pan American played a recent game at Maine, the temperature was 55 degrees - inside. Even locals thought it was cold. Outside was a rather chilly 15 below zero. ``I didn't even sweat,'' said Texas-Pan Am's Derek Wright. . . . If Tulane's Anthony Reed averages 17 points the rest of the season, he will become the first sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points. . . . Missouri has won seven straight since guard Anthony Peeler became eligible after academic problems the first semester. . . . Two former Syracuse players are regulars for Rutgers. Forward Keith Hughes has started every game and averages 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds, the latter figure tops in the Atlantic 10. Earl Duncan is scoring 9.4 points and passing for 3.9 assists. The ankle injury that has kept him out of five games has been a significant reason for the Scarlet Knights' 7-6 start.
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