Officiating controversy results in multiple suspensions

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When it comes to college basketball, the majority of the scandals tend to deal with either the players or coaches, with the NCAA getting involved. However on Thursday it was the referees who were in the news for the wrong reasons, with Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reported that multiple officials have been disciplined for their role in the compromising of a website used by 20 conferences to manage the many aspects of officiating.

BlueZebra Sports, which helps conference administrators keep track of officiating assignments and how much officials are compensated for their work, was used by those involved to gain access to the sites of officiating coordinators according to the report. The issue there is that such information is meant to either be kept confidential (compensation) or shared solely amongst the coordinators (scheduling, in order to avoid officials being assigned multiple games on the same day).

Among the conferences that use the site are the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West.

Bradley Batt, the owner of BlueZebra Sports, sent out a letter to his clients in which he divulged that two clients — who are also coordinators of lower-level college leagues — abused their access as administrators of their own web sites and “manipulated our system in a malicious manner to gain access to the sites of coordinators for whom they worked.”

Bo Boroski, who officiated the NCAA tournament this past season and also did the Big Ten tournament semifinals each of the past two years, will not work any game assignments in the league this season, sources told ESPN.com.

“He’s one of the best guys in our league,” one Big Ten coach told ESPN.com.

Will this lead to the remaining officials working even more in certain leagues? Or will there be more opportunities for those officials at lower levels of college basketball who hope to move up in the ranks? It would likely be a combination of both and it should be noted that officials are essentially “independent contractors,” so if another league wanted to employ a referee sanctioned by another conference they can do that.

But with there being growing complaints in recent years that some officials are working too many games, the possible effects of this situation doesn’t help matters at all.