Some things just piss me off

Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2007 by Travis Cody in

Bench decorum is a point of emphasis in NCAA college basketball. One point in particular is the coach's box.

The coach's box is basically a line on the floor past which a coach is not allowed to move. In the diagram, the box extends from the baseline to the little hash mark you can see. The idea is to keep coaches on their own benches and away from the middle of the floor. It keeps them from gaining an unfair advantage. It also keeps them from blocking the view of scorekeepers and clock managers. And it limits their ability to distract the officials by constantly chattering at them.

Coaches have been told to stay within the coaching box. They have been advised that a technical foul will be assessed if they do not stay within the coaching box. A technical foul awards two uncontested free throws and possession of the ball to the opposing team. It is clearly stated in the rules on page BR15-BR16.

During the Tennessee vs Xavier game today, both coaches were assessed technical fouls for this violation. And the pronouncers pitched a fit that the officials had made a mistake because the game should not turn on such a call.

I beg your pardon?

How about criticizing the head coaches for making the mistake?

Coaches and pronouncers can bitch all they want to about the "spirit" of the rule. But the bottom line is that the rules say that a technical foul will be assessed for "leaving the coaching box for an unauthorized reason".

You know what? Wandering two steps out of the coaching box is an unauthorized reason.

A referee's job is difficult enough without the added requirement of interpreting the "spirit" of the rule, or a coach's intentions. Referees are told to call the technical when they see the coach outside the box. If a coach doesn't want to get that techincal, which can change momentum in a tight game, then he should pay attention to what he's doing and be aware of himself on the bench.

After all, aren't these men supposed to be examples to the young men they are coaching? What example does it set to yell at an official when the coach is wrong and the official is right?

I've been a coach and a player and I understand that emotions can get out of control. I have believed, in the heat of the game, that I did not interfere with the receiver or grab that facemask. And then when I watched the film, I saw the clear evidence of the infraction.

So I say to Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl...Sir, you made a mistake and stepped outside the coach's box. The referee saw you and he did what he was required to do by assessing the technical foul. You, Sir, need to realize that it was your mistake.

And I say to the two pronouncers of the game...Gentleman, you do a disservice to the game by suggesting that a referee should be aware of the "spirit" of the rule. I would prefer that you support the rules, rather than perpetuate the idea that some rules should be ignored.

Rules are rules and I'm damn tired of phrases like "let the players play" or "a game shouldn't turn on a referee's whistle" or "that call wouldn't be made at the end of the game".

You know what? Games have rules. Play by them.

OK, I'm climbing off my soapbox now.


  1. Do you feel better now, Trav?
    Whew! I'm glad I'm not a coach reading this today. He'd better stay in that little box!

    Well said.

    P.S. I don't know anything about the little coach's box but I'm sure everything you said is just the way it is. Now go have some hot chocolate......

  1. I didn't see the game...but you are so right!

    Enjoy your weekend...(and all of your vacation days)

  1. Jeni says:

    I know very little about this game - definitely nothing of this rule - however, I gotta agree with your train of thought here. WHy have rules if the refs are not going to abide by them and why question their judgement then when they do impose those rules too? Good call, I think, on your part!
    And while I'm here - have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  1. RW says:

    Hear hear!! Well said Travis!!

  1. Schmoop says:

    I agree Trav. Another rule I'd like to see is that all cheerleaders must be nekkid. Cheers!!

  1. Sandee says:

    Yes, rules are rules. No one seems to care anymore. Well, except for people like you and me. :)

  1. In a world of Belichicks what can you expect? I think coaches should lead by example. Like Walsh.

    I don't do basketball so I can't toss out the good b ball coaches, so you get pigskin :P

  1. I'm with you here. There's enough violating the rules as it is. No one seems to care that the rules are rules for a reason. They try to get around them as much as possible. I don't envy refs their jobs.

  1. Mimi: I feel a little better after ranting. But I heard about that play all day yesterday, and all the pronouncers said the call was wrong. That just boils me.

    Katherine: I am definitely enjoying my time off!

    Jeni: Everyone tries to get an edge these days.

    Roger: Thanks!

    Matt: Hmmmm. Now that would be interesting.

    Sandee: It's very frustrating.

    Starr: Coach K, Coach Knight...there are other good examples. It's just unfortunate that a win at all costs attitude includes disregarding rules. I guess that makes me an idealist.

    Charles: I've done my share of hollering at refs, but when they properly apply the rules they deserve a break.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just wanted to stop by and wish you a Merry Christmas, Trav. I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Sorry I've not been around in a while.

  1. Amazing how the men in the booth have the ability to make themselves seem god-like.

    I agree - rules are in place for the benefit of all, not just those who choose to follow them. Play the game within the rules, or don't play.

  1. cathy says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about but that picture looks rude (at first glance)