Lou Bonder, supervisor of basketball officials for the Atlantic 10 Conference, said yesterday that game officials invoked the wrong rule at a key stage of Saturday's George Washington-Rutgers contest and that those officials may have some games taken away as a result.
Bonder, who attended the game in Piscataway, N.J., said he is reviewing tapes of it and of the Temple-West Virginia game in Morgantown the same day. The losing coaches, John Chaney of Temple and Gerry Gimelstob of George Washington, publicly criticized the game officials, Chaney calling referees assigned by the Atlantic 10 "inconsistent and pathetic."
Bonder said he also is reviewing tapes of Thursday's St. Joseph's-at-Rhode Island game in which the wrong St. Joseph's player was put on the foul line with three seconds to play. The outcome of that game was not affected by the mistake. "After I review the tapes, they (the erring officials) may have some games taken away," Bonder said via telephone from Philadelphia.
GW lost to Rutgers, 80-73. Gimelstob said he generally was upset "with how the game was officiated," especially by Lou Moser, but particularly with a call late in the game with the score 74-70.
GW's Mike Brown had just grabbed an offensive rebound when one of the officials inadvertently blew his whistle. Gimelstob and Bonder both said yesterday that GW should have kept possession as the rules stipulate for an inadvertent whistle. Instead, the officials awarded the ball to Rutgers on the alternate-possession rule used in place of the old jump ball.
Both Bonder and Commissioner Charles Theokas said yesterday that the quality of officiating in the conference is at an all-time high.
Many of the 52 Atlantic 10 officials also work Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East games. Bonder, who became the Atlantic 10's first full-time supervisor of officials last season, said he dropped nine officials after last season and plans to drop four after this season, none of whom were involved in the four recent controversial games.
Theokas said the current furor was triggered by an incident in the West Virginia-St. Joseph's game three weeks ago in Philadelphia, in which game officials went to their locker room and decided to take away a game-ending, game-winning basket by West Virginia.
That left St. Joseph's a one-point victor until Theokas overturned that decision and reawarded the victory to West Virginia, citing a rule that the officials' jurisdiction ends when they approve the final score and leave the floor.
Temple's Chaney told the Philadelphia Daily News his problems with Ron Foxcroft, the official he criticized after West Virginia ended his Owls' 27-game regular-season conference winning streak, are much older than that:
"Mr. Foxcroft would have done a great job in the days of slavery. He has a real vendetta against Granger Hall (the Owls' star center) and Temple. The officiating in this league is inconsistent and pathetic. I've seen too much of Foxcroft. He took over the game at the end, and I just sat back because I knew the end result. The stage had been set.
"He took a game away from us down there two years ago and again last year (in the tournament). This makes three years in a row, and I'm getting tired of it . . . "
Chaney accused Foxcroft of using a double standard of officiating in the West Virginia-Temple games, allowing the Mountaineers to "hand check" on defense and "go over the back" for rebounds. "That's the kind of play you expect in West Virginia," Chaney said. "But at the other end . . . (everything) is called."