Each basketball game has two or three officials. In every officiating crew, there is one head referee (sometimes called the crew chief). The remaining officials are called umpires. While there is a title difference between these officials, there are very few differences in their roles.
To review, the titles of official, referee, and umpire are as follows:
- Official is a broad term that includes referees and umpires
- The referee is the head official, also known as the crew chief
- Umpires are the other umpires that are not the referee
Both the referee and umpires are allowed to call all types of fouls and have jurisdiction over all phases of the game. During play, the referee starts along the baseline, with the umpires taking the trail and center positions. This will change throughout the game, though. Every official is expected to be able to operate from every position on the court.