Intramural Sports and Referees
At any given point during a night, there are numerous intramural sports games at the Marino Center, the Cabot Gym, and Matthews’ Arena. Sometimes, verbal fights break out not between the two opposing teams, but a team and a referee.
It is not uncommon with competitive sports for players to quarrel with referees, but as players begin taking intramural sports more seriously than before, words are often exchanged between referees and players over making bad calls. With the intramural teams only having their captain to be the one to formally protest a penalty, many teams are held back. The 19-page intramural sports handbook should be updated to allow more players on a team to oppose a call made by a referee.
Caitlin O’Connor is a referee for indoor soccer at Northeastern. “People are very disrespectful; they believe they have the right to yell at you and question any decision you make, when in any other job if they tried to do that they would be offended,” said O’Connor, a senior communications major.
O’Connor has also refereed wiffleball, which she says is easier to referee because it is not a contact sport compared to soccer and people do not get that aggressive. However, she has admitted to knowingly making incorrect calls during games. One time when she believed she made a correct call, a soccer goalie threw his gloves at her and stormed away.
“There are times when the game does not have my full attention and I will make a call when I’m not 100 percent sure,” said O’Connor. She added that when she made those types of calls, she had to be very self-assured, and has noticed after refereeing for two years that more players are getting angry during the game.
A difference here is broomball. Broomball is a contact sport, arguably the intramural sport that has the most hits and falls in a game. With 10 people on the ice at the time, along with 2 referees, fights break out often over bad calls.
"We had a loss at our last game because of a bad call a referee made," said Eric Chen, a junior economics major. Chen added that if the bad call had not been made, the game would have likely been called a tie.
Jon DiBiasio, a junior computer sciences major, is a referee for several different intramural sport, including intramural ice hockey. DiBiasio is also an avid player of intramural sports, playing on flag and arena football teams, broomball, dodgeball, and basketball. Of the four he plays, DiBiasio believes broomball has the most contact.
“During a football game, I caught the ball and collided with a member of the opposing team when I came down with it, and the touchdown did not count because the referee thought it was an illegal motion,” said DiBiasio, a middler computer science major. He added that the football referees will call any penalty they can, compared to broomball referees who will “let players come in contact with one another, which makes the game intense.”
DiBiasio added that although he disagreed with many rules in the intramural sports handbook, such as flag-guarding, he likes the rule that only the captain should be the one to complain to the referee. “If everyone could protest a referee’s call, more fights would break out and it would get annoying,” said DiBiasio. “It’s better to just have one person talk it out.”
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