North Texas Daily

Intramural referees trying to block out the haters

Intramural referees trying to block out the haters

March 03
00:54 2016

Courtney Anderson | Staff Writer

@CPaigeA23

On Sundays during football season, design management sophomore Armani Lars spends his time watching NFL games and getting frustrated with the referees in just about every game.

But during the past few weeks, he has traded his normal clothes for the black and white referee stripes to step onto the basketball court and be the recipient of yelling and heckling.

Lars has never been the one to berate refs. But even if he was, he said he would feel less inclined to after spending some time in their shoes.

“It’s definitely hard to see everything,” Lars said. “When I first started, I wouldn’t know what to always call out there. As I progressed, I got better with my calls though.”

To become an intramural referee, one must go through three days of training, two of which involve sitting in a classroom going over rules in a particular sport and watching film. On the third day, there is a tournament set up on the courts, where every trainee competes for the $8 per hour job.

Sitting and watching a fraternity intramural game, fans can be heard all over the Physical Education Building screaming at either referees or opponents. Competitors can be seen giving refs confused looks when fouls are called, even yelling at them to proclaim a call “stupid as hell,” or to say they “don’t know the sport”.

Design Management sophomore Armani Lars gets assigned to a court for the upcoming A team basketball games. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Design management sophomore Armani Lars gets assigned to a court for the upcoming A team basketball games. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

“It’s usually the frats or sororities that yell. I guess they’re showing how they’re dedicated fans to their team,” Lars said. “The players do get angry pretty quickly, especially ‘A’ teams. It’s not as bad as I think it used to be because they learn about the repercussions, like getting kicked out of games if they get too bad.”

As an intramural athlete and coach, communications studies junior Paymon Haghighi believes more training before an intramural season could solve the problem between refs and players.

“With how much of a big deal intramurals can be in Greek life, I think preparing for it better to make more of the right calls can be very important,” Haghighi said.

Even with everything going on during the game, Haghighi acknowledged he sees the referees during halftime or timeouts talking to their supervisor to make sure they made the right call.

“I really respect how hard they work,” he said. “I just want the game to be more consistent.”

Accounting freshman Tori Moore referees for almost every intramural sport at UNT and occasionally plays for the basketball ‘B’ team of the fraternity he is currently pledging. In his opinion, basketball referees get the brunt of the scolding.

“It’s a more technical job than most people think it is,” Moore said. “I learned about a lot of rules when I went through training, some I didn’t even realize. And I’ve played these sports before.”

Although intramural referees now have a better understanding of what the high school, college and professional referees experience on a weekly basis, they don’t seem to change their opinions about them too much.

“The NFL and other professional refs are at a higher caliber,” Lars said, “So I’m going to hold them to a higher standard and expect them to do their best. This is their job.”

According to CNN.com, in 2009, an NFL ref could make anywhere between $25,000 and $70,000 a season. Compared to $8.00 hourly at UNT, it’s quite a bit more than what fellow students who fill out an application and go through a few days of training earn.

Math junior Taylor Vaughn blows her whistle on a foul during an intramural basketball game. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Math junior Taylor Vaughn blows her whistle on a foul during an intramural basketball game. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

With the intramural basketball season coming to a close soon, intramural athletes will have to move on to the next sports coming up: softball and soccer. People who are interested in refereeing for future sports are welcome to apply for a spot, but are encouraged not to take any comments made to them by spectators or competitors to heart.

“You do have to have a bit tougher skin,” Moore said. “I realize players can be a–holes now, but hey, I’m still going to yell at refs. I know they’re still figuring it out themselves, but maybe they’ll hear and pay closer attention next time.”

Featured Image: BCIS sophomore Keavin Johnson reacts to a shooting foul during a intramural basketball game. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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