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An Inside Look At The Often Thankless Job Of The Referee18:03
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Iowa State coach Greg McDermott talks with referee Ed Hightower during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, in Ames, Iowa. Texas won 90-83. (AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Iowa State coach Greg McDermott talks with referee Ed Hightower during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, in Ames, Iowa. Texas won 90-83. (AP)

Being a referee is a thankless job. Do your job well, and no one notices. But make a mistake, and no one forgets.

With the NCAA basketball tournament underway — March Madness — we spend a few minutes considering the high pressure work of the officials. And this year, there's been no shortage of controversial calls, including a technical foul last Friday against Providence coach, Ed Cooley. With his team down 8 points and just few minutes left to play, Cooley huddled up his team and tried to fire them up by knocking over a chair.

For this, veteran referee Terry Oglesby gave him a technical foul, to the amazement of the commentators.

Guests

Bob Katz, author of "The Whistleblower: Rooting for the Ref in the High-Stakes World of College Basketball."

Bill Littlefield, host of NPR’s Only A Game, which tweets @OnlyAGameNPR.

More

WBUR: Did You Place Your Bet? March Madness Betting Could Surpass Superbowl

  • "The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans will bet $9 billion over the course of this year's March Madness tournament, more than double what they bet on the Super Bowl."

This segment aired on March 25, 2015.

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