If something I write in the paper is inaccurate, there are a number of ways in which I am held accountable for the inaccuracy.
The paper would print a correction, and I would have to sit in my boss's office and discuss why the story wasn't correct.
This isn't a phenomenon that only writers face.
Nearly all employees faces some sort of checks-and-balances system that forces them to be held responsible for their actions - with the exception, that is, of high school athletics officials and referees.
In the first five months of the 2004-05 prep season, I have seen more bad or blown calls collectively than I have seen in all my life before that. As far as I know, there is no way to hold the officials accountable for their mistakes.
I'm not the only one who believes this. Four area coaches told me they weren't aware of any kind of evaluation process that officials go through.
Short of having officials in street clothes in the stands, the only "evaluation" process I have seen was at the softball finals in Columbus, Ga.
Many of the Georgia High School Association officials sat in the stadium press box, enjoying the cornucopia of food and talking about college football rather than watching their brethren.
Maybe a set-in-stone evaluation process is what is needed, because some of the calls I've seen have been atrocious.
During the Evans and Effingham County football game, an Effingham player took a hand-off in the end zone and then tossed the ball forward when he was hit in the end zone.
The play should have been ruled a safety, because at the very least, the running back threw the ball to no one to avoid the safety.
The officials deliberated and ruled the play a fumble.
At the Columbia County Christmas Tournament, referees called an intentional foul on a Lakeside girl after she fouled a Harlem girl at the end of the game to force foul shots so the Lady Panthers could get the ball back.
That is part of basketball; every official knows that. When Lakeside was down late in the fourth quarter, the players attempted to foul Harlem, hoping the Lady Bulldogs would miss the free throws. This is a common strategy, and I've never seen those fouls referred to as intentional.
On Monday night, Greenbrier's Melissa Lewis was kicked in the throat by a Stephens County player during a loose ball. Lewis shoved the Lady Indians player and was tossed from the game for a flagrant foul. All of this transpired in front of a referee, and the right thing to do would have been to call double technical fouls on the two players.
The next night, the Greenbrier boys played Hart County, the host school of the Dairy Queen Classic. At the end of the half, a Bulldogs player shot the ball after the buzzer sounded to end the half.
A Hart County player jumped up for a put-back and hung on the rim. While he was on the rim, the ball bounced back through the net.
The officials ruled the basket was good, despite its coming after the horn sounded, despite basket interference (because the Bulldog player hung on the rim), and despite not giving out a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
The officials did, however, give a technical to an enraged Harlem coach Casey Dees after he argued the call.
Those are just some of the specific examples of bad officiating this season. That doesn't account for all the nonfouls that are called fouls.
The one thing the officials have lacked all season is consistency.
It seems the only way to ensure the consistency and accountability is to have non-working officials evaluating every game and allowing the coaches, anonymously, to evaluate the officials after a game.
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