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LSUWinning the national championship yeah The conclusion of last season’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament is remembered in part for its controversial officiating. A review of the game by the NCAA and an independent review provided to the Associated Press concluded that the officiating did not meet expectations.
The NCAA had planned to review tournament administration after the 2024 tournament ended in April, but the process was accelerated by a year following criticism of the LSU-Iowa showdown.
NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman said officials were graded on the accuracy of their calls and that the overall accuracy number was short.
“In the championship game itself, for example, we typically have a 91% performance historically, I think,” she said. “In that game, the percentage of correct calls was even lower, about 88%.”
The NCAA did not provide the review or details to the AP, but an independent review conducted by an official not involved in the game found the percentage of correct calls was well below 88%. (Out-of-bounds violations were not included as part of the independent analysis; it was not clear whether they were included in the NCAA number.)
According to the independent review, fouls committed during the game included a foul that was called Angel Reese At the end of the first quarter, it was her second of the game. In the third quarter, two offensive errors were missed, one by each team. Both led to reviews from the video screen, but neither ended with the offending player being punished, said the official, who conducted the review on the condition of anonymity because he feared the criticism would impact his career.
The 88% correct contact rate was on par with the rest of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but not ideal for the most important game of the season.
“Formal work in all areas is a source of concern for people,” he said. North Carolina Coach Courtney Banghart, president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, added that she hopes to share the findings with coaches. “Having this assessment was a good step that shows they are trying to address it.”
The NCAA review was conducted by Pictor’s group. It made six observations and recommendations including better education and training for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee and the Subcommittee on Refereeing, Crew Selection, Referee Hiring and Crew Chiefs.
“They felt the National Management Program was run fairly and there was no doubt about any of that,” Holzman said. “They identified areas where we could be better.”
The NCAA updated its rulebook over the summer. One change, had it happened last season, would have affected the title game.
Players will now no longer be charged with a technical foul for certain delay-of-game violations like those filed for Caitlin Clark Late in the third quarter because she did not pass the ball to the referee after committing a foul. Since this was Iowa State’s second delay-of-game violation, Clark was charged with a technical foul — her fourth foul of the game.
“Our committee will get specific education on how to evaluate officials, and that’s what we’re looking at,” Holzman said. “The committee will be trained.”
Holzman noted that the review was only related to the NCAA Tournament and that individual conferences govern their own officials during the regular season.
For the upcoming NCAA Tournament, there will once again be 116 officials working alongside five substitutes. An additional 94 officials will be selected for the inaugural women’s basketball invitational tournament. This will allow more officials the opportunity to gain postseason experience. In the past, some NCAA Tournament officials also worked WNIT games.
Last year was the first time the NCAA had all-female crews for the semifinals and finals.
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