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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Staff Editorial

Athletes, not referees, should be amateurs

Wednesday’s basketball game against Rice at Tudor Fieldhouse was not short on excitement — or, unfortunately, controversy.

Cougar Nation put up a respectable showing in the opposing venue, with UH chants sometimes overpowering the arena. We also want to compliment the Rice fans for being a classy, spirited bunch.

The glaring problem was the officiating crew calling the game — it was nothing short of amateur. We cannot help but speculate the game being played on Rice’s home floor gave the Owls an added advantage.

The officiating staff of J.B. Caldwell, Jeff Malham and Mark Whitehead had far too much of an impact on the end result.

Apart from being whistle-happy toward UH, when the refs made calls against the Cougars they reacted in an overly animated fasion. Of these three men we kindly implore you be a professional and check your ego at the door so you do not impact any more significant conference games.

Usually, it is not the job of the media — a student publication, no less — to criticize the performance of the officials, but some calls made were obviously incorrect.

We applaud Rice’s ability to perform in a high-pressure situation, but some of the Owl players looked as if they had recently enrolled in some drama classes; they were flopping egregiously. It is the responsibility of the referees to spot players doing an acting job, and this crew failed miserably.

With 2:39 remaining, forward Alandise Harris made a strong move to the basket when Rice forward Arsalan Kazemi fell to the floor before Harris had even made contact.

The Cougars had several chances to close out the game. At the end of the day, it is their own fault for not putting the nail in the coffin. However, the Daily Cougar would like to request that Conference USA carefully review some of the questionable calls made down the stretch. We think they will find the officiating staff made more than one error, and got a little too involved.

We would also like to ask that a different staff of referees work the season finale against Rice on March 5 at Hofheinz Pavilion.

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