Officiating for women’s college basketball is often inadequate but it’s a part of the game for which coaches need to be prepared.
A lesson Baylor coach Kim Mulkey forgot while her team was struggling against the University of Louisville in an 82-81 loss in this year’s Sweet 16 game in the NCAA tourney. With 40 seconds remaining, she tore off her blazer and stormed toward the officials, angrily protesting a call that went UofL’s way. Her ranting continued into the post-game press conference.
For her inadequacy, the NCAA suspended Mulkey from her next tournament game (assuming there is one) and also withheld her “per diem” reimbursement for the trip to the regionals. “The committee unanimously felt that the behavior of Coach Mulkey was unacceptable and has no place in the women’s basketball championship,” committee chair Carolayne Henry said.
Coincidentally, her outburst occurred against UofL coach Jeff Walz, who was among two coaches reprimanded after the 2011 tournament, losing his per diem. He was cited for using profane language and kicking the scorer’s table in a loss to Gonzaga. The other was none other than Kim Mulkey who had complained about the tournament seedings that year.
Walz appears to have taken the lesson to heart, showing great restraint during difficult circumstances over the past two seasons. Mulkey, maybe not, probably still complaining.
Presumably the people who officiate NCAA tourney games are among the best. Many would concur, however, that the overall quality of college basketball officiating is lacking. It is unpredictable, subjective, inadequate and often unfair to the participants. That’s especially true for the women’s sport, in which a high percentage of whistles are seemingly makeup calls.
Coaches are right to expect consistency but the day when that happens is still a long way off. Best to keep a stiff upper lip for now.