Basketball Referee Roles
Referees are pivotal in the game of basketball. A bad referee can negatively affect the outcome of a game, while a good referee makes sure the winner is decided fairly. Here is some basic information about a referee's roles and responsibilities during a basketball game.
Number of Referees In Basketball Games
The officials and referees are responsible for interpreting the rulebook and calling fouls and violations in basketball games. There are also referees that oversee statistics, scorekeeping, the game clock and shot clock, replays, and when a player steps out of bounds.
In the NBA, there are seven officials, one crew chief, two referees, one official scorekeeper, two trained timekeepers, and one replay center official. For lower levels of basketball, the number of referees for each game can vary.
Referee Roles And Responsibilities
Referees have lots of responsibilities in a basketball game. These are some of the basic roles and responsibilities shared by on-court officials.
- Check all game equipment (i.e. hoop, ball, backboard, floor)
- Ensure the pressure of the ball is between 7.5 pounds and 8.5 pounds
- Check player's uniforms and remove illegal equipment
- Checking team roster size and the active list
- Toss the ball in jump balls
- Assign possession of the ball on in-bounds passes
- Giving the ball to free throw shooters and inbounders
- Calling all fouls and violations
- Signaling a dead ball by blowing his whistle
List of Basketball Officials
In basketball, there are five different types of officials. Each type of official has specialized roles and responsibilities. The five types of officials are listed below:
- Crew Chief
- Replay Center Official
Basketball Crew Chief
The crew chief is the head official in any group of basketball referees. They always have the final say on a ruling if there is a disagreement between the referees. A crew chief is also responsible for discussing calls with both teams' head coaches if there is any confusion. The crew chief is one of the most important jobs in the officiating crew and can have a huge impact on a game.
The referees in basketball share many of the same responsibilities as the crew chief. They are responsible for calling fouls and violations, whistling dead balls, and giving the ball to free throw shooters and inbounders. The only difference between the crew chief and regular referees is that the crew chief has the final say on a disputed call.
The scorekeeper in basketball is responsible for tracking the scores of both teams, updating the scoreboard, and confirming all scored baskets. They need to pay very close attention to the game to record the correct score, which players have scored, and confirm other statistics with the referees, such as fouls or timeouts. The scorekeeper will sit behind the scorer's table, which is located on the sideline near center court.
The timekeeper in basketball is in charge of starting and stopping the clocks during gameplay. This includes both the game clock and the shot clock, which can make the job harder than it may seem. The timekeeper stays in constant contact with the on-court referees and will change the time on the clock if the crew chief deems it necessary.
Basketball Replay Center Official
The replay center official is perhaps the most unique member of the officiating crew because they are not actually located in the arena. The NBA's replay center is located in Secaucus, New Jersey, and this is where all NBA referee calls are reviewed in real-time. In the replay center, officials can monitor multiple different angles of on-court fouls or violations to ensure they make the right call. When a referee is unsure about a call on the floor, they will go over to the scorer's table and call the NBA replay center to communicate with the replay center official. The replay center official will quickly review footage of the controversial call and communicate the correct decision to the referee or crew chief.
A foul is a penalty given to a player and team for committing an illegal action towards another player. There are many fouls in basketball, including flagrant fouls, personal fouls, technical fouls, and team fouls. Depending on the situation, fouls can result in the opposing team being awarded free throws. Referees are responsible for calling fouls when they happen on the court.
A violation is a type of penalty called for violating basic rules of the game, like dribbling illegally or timing mistakes. Violations are viewed as less severe than fouls and do not result in free throws. Referees are responsible for calling violations when they happen on the court.
Basketball Referee Signals
A referee will blow their whistle and make a signal with their arms when a foul or violation is called. They also use hand signals to communicate made shots, changes of possession, or to start the clock. There are lots of referee signals in basketball, which are necessary for referees to communicate with other referees, coaches, and players in an effective manner. When referees huddle up to discuss a call, it slows down the game and can ruin a game's flow and rhythm.