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Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating #225832 02/23/14 06:38 PM
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Cokeley Offline OP
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The decline has been happening for several years but I hope we are finally reaching the bottom. For some reason there is NO accountability for poor officiating. No performance reviews, no evaluations, no grading and a good ole boy assigning system has resulted in the same crews doing the same tournaments year in and year out. If you passed the test, went to two meetings and clinic, and have a pulse you got a regional. Some of the new guys are being left home for state while some of the worst officials we have will be in Hays, Salina, and Wichita. Everyone is going to make mistakes but it is no mistake when you are so out of shape you can't get into position or worse yet you never wrestled and have no idea where to be based on the action in front of you. It seems to be taboo to make suggestions to them to improve and once a new official gets on the inside he is forbidden to discuss quality of fellow officials. Apparently an official can ask for feedback but it isn't "PC" to tell them that they are not getting it. It has now sunk to the point where everyone is afraid to say anything because of retaliation by officials. Officials are making decisions based on who the coaches are or if parents are yelling from the stands instead of what is happening on the mat. To me it is pretty simple, there is a dome over the mat and NOTHING outside of that dome has any impact on the action. The match is about the kids and for the kids. Any official who is not doing this for the kids needs to stay home this weekend and let someone else who respects the 100's of hours of blood, sweat and tears this kids give and the freedom they sacrifice to be the best they can be. To take a power hungry or cavalier attitude towards these matches is just unacceptable. Wrestling has improved, coaching improves, and officials need to take measures to get better too. Two officials are retiring this weekend, Kevin Hewitt and Bob Workentine. They are leaving without being pushed and they are two of the best still on the mat. Others need to follow suit and we, the wrestling community, need to get our young athletes who give up the sport to put on a striped shirt and whistle to give the future generations a higher level of on the mat arbitration!


Will Cokeley
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Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Cokeley] #225838 02/23/14 07:02 PM
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ksuwrestling2 Offline
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Dear God, for once I actually agree with you. What you said is true and makes sense. World is truly coming to an end.


Steve Moser
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Cokeley] #225839 02/23/14 07:03 PM
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Will when you talk about overweight it reminds me of helping Aspen with an assignment for a college course Rules and Mechanics of Officiating. He had to come up with a diet and exercise plan for an official!!! He said he couldn't tell that it was a part of their job to be in shape. Maybe it should be required they take a course like it and be subject to physical performance evals as well.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Cokeley] #225840 02/23/14 07:20 PM
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Wow, someone said it. Yes, if an official is on the mat for beer money or that boat payment that put him in over his head, he should surely think about a part time gig at QT or Bass Pro instead. I think everyone agrees that the officials should be of the same mind and spirit as the wrestlers and coaches — the passion of competition and the pursuit of excellence. But how do you vett that?

I don't know the process in which a wrestling official becomes "official". I know that other sports have National Governing bodies that educate and train their officials with clear grades and frequent performance reviews that allow them to officiate more challenging competitions as they gain competence. Perhaps wrestling is the same in theory but is suffering from a deficit somewhere in the process that allow poor officials to slide by with little to no accountability.

A facet of your solution of recruiting young wrestlers who have recently stopped competing at an elite level is brilliant. These young men need to learn how to run mat rooms from experienced coaches and start apprenticing under our best and most reliable officials.

So, how do we make that happen?

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: baldeagle3351] #225851 02/23/14 08:49 PM
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CCC walk on Offline
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Wow I have to get my 2 cents in on this subject. Over the years I have seen very poor officiating. At the Halstead tournament, their is an official that can't seem to stop a match until one wrestler is injured. He can't seem to project what is going to happen. I have seen more wrestlers carried off the mat under his call than the total of all the matches I watch. He should have retired years ago. Next, officials who know who the winner is going to be. We usually, as fans and coaches know within the first minute, which wrestler is the better one. So some officials just put in a half effort, kind of a just get this over with attitude. No calls, and guessing on back points vs counting and awarding them properly. This hurts wrestling as a sport and usually the young begining wrestlers.
At the Hoisington Regional this crew really had some problems. Boundry calls seem to be a free for all call, officials are different and officials call it different, match to match. Officials were lossing track of stalling calls and not awarding points, even sent one match into over time because of two stalls with no point awarded on the second. They weren't paying attention to the coin toss and often times the same coach was making the call in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Stalling was a real problem here to, 20 to 30 take down shots to 3 or 4 and no stall warning untill 17 seconds left in the match, some schools took advantage of this much more than others. One scoring tables struggled some times and for the most part coaches would point it out and the official would come over and fix it, but one official wouldn't talk to the coaches, he would just ask the table if it was correct, if they said yes he didn't even check.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: CCC walk on] #225855 02/23/14 09:50 PM
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Rford Offline
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Will, it can't be all that taboo because it gets brought up every year. Although its been pretty calm this year.

There are good officials, and there are not so good. And there are officials, like me, that have reached a point where they need to honestly evaluate themselves (because nobody else it doing it) and say its time to start phasing out, or getting out. A few years ago I started giving up varsity dates. I'm almost completely out of varsity now, but picked up some middle school and JV dates, which I really enjoy. I've told the assigners that if there are any young/new officials that want any of my dates please assign them before me.

I think the biggest thing preventing a strong, across-the-board cadre of officials is how assignments are handled. To say its a "good old boy system" doesn't really explain the problem, its a lot more complicated. But the bulk of the assignments, and a particularly the good assignments as locked up by a relatively small group of officials. They are a tight-nit, protective, group and have a death grip on those tournaments. They have also locked up all the weekday events among themselves, so for them its a pretty lucrative deal. In my area, the assigners are also officials, so that's no only a conflict, it puts additional pressure on them because they have developed friendships over the years with officials who the feel a personal obligation to assign. Now, the officials who work all these dates year after year are, pretty much across the board, good officials. You get better at officiating by officiating, so if you are working all the two-day tournaments and all the big single day events you are bound to improve. Plus, if you aren't working a variety of skill levels its easier. The better the wrestlers, the easier the officiating.

There are other problems. Any "home" coach can blackball an official. So if you are working ABC High School Tournament and get cross-ways with the ABC head coach, all he has to do is tell the assigner (who is probably working the tournament as well) that he doesn't want you back, and you aren't coming back. No review, no appeal, no discussion on whether its justified. Now that is wrong in any system, but it happens. So how do you suppose officials might react in a close call situation when the ABC kids are on the mat? Officials are human, and many of these guys are making as much officiating during the season as they do at their regular jobs. It's big money those few that have the lion's share of the dates.

I've read where in some states they draw assignments out of hat...each official has the same number of dates, and has an equal chance at getting good assignments. My guess is you would need to categorize officials and assignments, to you weren't sending a rookie to the Bobcat Classic, but that isn't that big a deal...grade assignments, ABCD, and grade officials ABCD, and then match up the hats. Another option would be to at least rotate around a bit, or leave open some slots for up and comers. I gave up Gardner a couple years ago and asked the assigner to make it a rotating slot for younger guys to get a chance...instead of giving it to the next buddy in line. I don't what happened, but my suggestions over the years have not been well received. I complained early on at our meeting that it was unfair that some officials worked both days of a two day tournament while others sat home all weekend. There were loud protests about how the coaches wanted consistency and having different guys on Fri. and Sat. would not work. Well, the ones dissing it were the guys working both days, of course. Consistency comes from everyone knowing the rules and applying them in the same manner, not on the individuals on the mat.

I've concluded there is no fix to the problem so long as you have officials in charge of making assignments, have lifetime assignments, and have no one who insists on fairness in how assignments are made.

Finally, while on a rant, and I never got enough votes to get a state assignment so feel free to call sour grapes, but our system of selecting officials for state is seriously suspect. It requires officials to befriend, and lobby, coaches for their vote. I could never stomach that system and never handed out cards which is what the state requires that officials do who want to get to state. To me, that would be like district court judges being voted on by the attorneys who appear before them for appointment to the court of appeals. The conflict of interest is so glaring at to be blinding. Here again, officials who befriend coaches get those coaches' votes....its the system. I've watched it, and the fawning and chit-chatting with coaches that is required takes a special kind of person, in my opinion, to be able to pull it off.

Most of you don't know me, so you won't know if I'm serious or not, but I am. Our system of recruiting, training, and retaining officials would be a lot more professional and even-handed if we had Will Cokeley or someone like him take it over for a couple of years to put some defensible, and sensible, system in place instead of what's going on now.

Bob Ford
JV Official

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Rford] #225950 02/24/14 02:51 PM
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Jeff Smith Offline
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This subject may be taboo but remains a valid concern. I understand that officials are human and expect them to make mistakes. Hopefully they learn from it and are willing to work as hard as everyone else on the mat and in the corner has to better themselves; the kids deserve it. What makes this even worse is when multiple officials are used on one mat and they are there only for show. Every tournament I have watched this year utilizing two officials (semi's & finals) I have yet to witness the value the second official brings to the mat. In theory having 2 officials makes complete sense, unfortunately reality proves different. I know there is a protocol between officials but there are also areas when the 2nd officials can question and discuss a call or non call. In addition to the obvious calls for wrestler safety, signaling lock hands (often seen from a different angle), out/in bounds etc should be also be brought to the attention of the lead official. Their allegiance should always be to the wrestlers on the mat whom have worked their butt off to get where they are at and not to their fellow official. I understand it takes courage to question your peer but by doing so dramatically increases your credibility and professionalism. It's bad enough for a bad call to be made but inexcusable for it to be made by 2 officials working the same match!

As we enter into the greatest weekend of the year I hope all officials reflect on all the hard work these wrestlers have put in and officiate with utmost professionalism and credibility.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Jeff Smith] #226078 02/24/14 10:53 PM
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Cokeley Offline OP
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A great start would be for all Regional lead officials to turn in a report on those who were of poor quality. KSHSAA needs feedback to understand that there is a problem. Officials have to stop covering up the crap and pretending it doesn't exist. Those who care need to educate, train, and/or eliminate those that can't do the job.


Will Cokeley
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willcokeley@gmail.com
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Cokeley] #226105 02/25/14 12:37 AM
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Rford Offline
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Originally Posted By: Cokeley
A great start would be for all Regional lead officials to turn in a report on those who were of poor quality. KSHSAA needs feedback to understand that there is a problem. Officials have to stop covering up the crap and pretending it doesn't exist. Those who care need to educate, train, and/or eliminate those that can't do the job.




Last edited by Rford; 03/01/14 02:38 AM.
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Rford] #226139 02/25/14 02:09 AM
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J. Dale Offline
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Scabs are the body’s natural way of letting other people know you’re an idiot.


Well you're just a special kind of stupid aren't you?
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: J. Dale] #226698 03/02/14 12:55 AM
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Bob Ford, from someone who was never a big fan of yours going way back a long ways I have to say thanks for your honesty and saying it how it is. Until the AD's come together with the state and take this issue seriously it wont change. Unless these locked in good ole boy officials can man up and look in the mirror (which wont happen) things will just continue to be bad. Unfortunately I seem to see less and less wrestling each year but one thing that is disturbing is the trend of the sense of power the officials have these days compared to years passed. It seems they treat the coaches as they have no right to question any calls. That they are the almighty and controller of the mat. It is sickening to see this because this is a great sport and it is supposed to be for the kids. If a group of caring parents and wrestling fans were in control of the officials only good can come from it. To have any profession above being rated, critiqued, and reviewed is ridiculous. What jobs out there are not held accountable. Good old boy officials put your egos and bank accounts a side and do what is right for the kids and the sport!!! If they wont everyone needs to come together and put pressure on the AD's to work with the state or this thread will be up every year.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: tking] #226708 03/02/14 03:01 AM
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I thought the officiating at the 4A meet was excellent! They worked well together in teams, conferring when necessary to make sure a good call was made. They were professional, hustled, and worked hard to get in position for good calls. They explained calls to coaches when necessary and kept the matches moving.

There were also some young officials who did a great job, too.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Kit Harris] #226722 03/02/14 01:42 PM
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J. Dale Offline
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Saw some amazing calls made in Wichita. Quarter finals, wrestler with 1 loss on the year, opponent gets obvious rolling start to tie the match up then win in OT. Saw a ref catch a locked hands only to stop the action to award the point as the BOTTOM wrestler was in the process of getting an escape. Then there was the classic in the 6A 145lb finals where the official clearly counts 2, appears to actually start a third count and never awards the nearfall to cost a really nice kid a state title 3-2. It is on film, a perfect time for KSHSAA to view this and grow a pair to make changes. But will they? Nope. And the only conferring the refs did appeared to involve where dinner was because I did not see one call reversed the whole weekend. Maybe they just made all the right calls the first time.


Well you're just a special kind of stupid aren't you?
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: J. Dale] #226730 03/02/14 03:17 PM
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can someone enlighten me to the issue that happened in 6A, i believe it was 152 lb class, Action was stopped for almost 30 min and appeared they had head offical involved and lots of debate about outcome. thanks


Bob Burnett
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: J. Dale] #226733 03/02/14 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted By: J. Dale
Saw some amazing calls made in Wichita. Quarter finals, wrestler with 1 loss on the year, opponent gets obvious rolling start to tie the match up then win in OT. Saw a ref catch a locked hands only to stop the action to award the point as the BOTTOM wrestler was in the process of getting an escape. Then there was the classic in the 6A 145lb finals where the official clearly counts 2, appears to actually start a third count and never awards the nearfall to cost a really nice kid a state title 3-2. It is on film, a perfect time for KSHSAA to view this and grow a pair to make changes. But will they? Nope. And the only conferring the refs did appeared to involve where dinner was because I did not see one call reversed the whole weekend. Maybe they just made all the right calls the first time.
I agree that they screwed up on the three count in the 145 final, I also think stalling points could have been awarded to the winner earlier during the match. two missed calls or non calls in the same match.

Last edited by tryingtobesilent; 03/02/14 03:30 PM.
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Kit Harris] #226776 03/02/14 09:02 PM
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You must have missed the semi-final for 138 where the official made a clear two-count at end of match and did not award the points which cost that wrestler the match. The official, when approached about the two count by the wrestlers coach, blew it off and didn't bother to confer with the other ref. It is on tape as clear as day.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: KSheadlockermom] #226777 03/02/14 09:14 PM
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Did he get a two count or did he get two one counts? The first would be points the second would not.

I personally thought the officials did a decent job this weekend. I saw some questionable calls and even saw some bad calls. Believe it or not I saw some Great Calls. It is easier to complain about the few bad calls you see then it is to compliment all of the calls that were made right. I will also say this, questionable calls are always wrong if your wrestler is on the losing side of the call. For the most part I thought the officiating was pretty good this weekend.


Unnecessary Roughness is Necessary
Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: KSheadlockermom] #226778 03/02/14 09:18 PM
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Can you post the video?

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: Beeson] #226780 03/02/14 10:19 PM
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It was a two-count. At least one coach from another team thought it was a pin. Working on posting video.

Re: Taboo Topic...Poor quality of officiating [Re: KSheadlockermom] #226790 03/02/14 11:44 PM
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I totally respect anyone who officiates any sports. I got to watch some of the 5 and 6A this year. I have lived out of state for over 5 years and away from wrestling for about 7.

The thing that struck me was it was pretty much the same crew dating back to my coaching days. A few newer faces, but none unknown to me. I saw some very good officiating and control of the mat. But, I was hoping to see some new faces mixed in.

I actually agree with Will, scary as that can be, you have to find a way to get our wrestlers to transition to wearing whistles. Part of that is creating a mentoring atmosphere amongst officials, keeping parents and coaches from abusing officials and working these new guys and or gals in to good assignments.

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