. . . on the Use of Assistant Officials at WV States, Part I
The Assistant Referee Quandary in West Virginia
There has been a critical debate going on in West Virginia wrestling for several years. It pertains to the use of "assistant referees" at the state tournament.
A number of years ago the West Virginia wrestling coaches committee decided that assistant officials would not be utilized at the state championships -- only one official per match.
Since then, I have listened to many coaching and officiating voices, both pro and con, regarding the subject. Allow me to share their thoughts with you.
The Positive Viewpoint for Using Assistant Officials
The following are well-founded reasons for reinstating "assistant referees" at the state wrestling tournament:This seems to be very convincing evidence for returning assistant referees to the West Virginia State Championship mats. Next time we will examine the flip side of the controversy. Then you can make your own individual decision on this unique officiating debate.
1. The assistant official can help the head official when he is in doubt over a decision made.
2. The assistant official, who has often refereed with the head official, can be very effective helping to determine a winner of a close wrestling match. In essence, they both work in tandem, as one.
3. The assistant official can often observe locked hands, grasping of clothing, illegal actions, etc. which the head official was unable to observe due to his vantage point.
4. During very intense, close matches, the assistant official can keep the head official informed of the time remaining, or when time was out as one wrestler scored (or not) at the end of the period.
5. When timeouts occur during the bout and the head official has to confer at the score table, the assistant official can see to it that the wrestlers stay in the center of the mat during such conferences at the score table with the scorekeeper, timekeeper, or coaches.
6. After a match has completed, the assisant official can help in watching the wrestlers return to their corners without committing any act of unsportsmanship conduct.
The Negative Viewpoint for Using Assistant OfficialsThis seems to be persuasive evidence for not returning "assistant referees" to the West Virginia State Championship mats. The more one contemplates each side of this officiating dilemma, the more confused one gets. It reminds me of Frank Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger -- a short story classic without an ending.
The following are concrete reasons for not reinstating "assistant referees" at the state wrestling tournament:
1. There are times when the head referee does not confer with the assistant referee when questionable calls are made.
2. When a younger official is the assistant referee, he is often reluctant to disagree with the veteran head official's decision.
3. Similarly, when the less experienced referee is the head official, he tends to be intimidated and changes his mind if the more experienced assistant referee questions him.
4. Sometimes the assistant referee becomes complacent, and is not actively concentrating on the match.
5. At the state tournament, officials from different sections of the state must work together so there is no regional bias. Having never work as a team during the year, they often can not comfortably compliment each other on the mat and feel out of sync while officiating matches.
6. Likewise, another problem has occurred when officials from different sections of West Virginia have worked together at states. Occasionally, they have subtle differences in officiating philosophies. Such conflicting beliefs between two officials has not been conducive to officiating-team consistency during matches. Many believe this is not fair to our mat sport contestants.