FORMER NBA players and current television analysts Kenny Smith and Doug Collins will be part of a new Officiating Advisory Council that will play a big role in the league’s push to strengthen its officiating program.
The NBA said the introduction of the council is one of several new initiatives that are part of recent efforts to bring additional transparency to the program and use advanced technologies to enhance the performance, training, development and recruitment of referees.
The initiatives come after a six-month review of the NBA’s officiating program conducted by recently appointed president of league operations, Byron Spruell, who oversees basketball and referee operations at the NBA’s New York headquarters.
“Our focus with these new initiatives is to build on the already-existing strengths of our officiating program and ensure maximum effectiveness of our officials,” said Spruell.
“With an eye toward continuous improvement, these measures will put our officials in an even better position to succeed in this demanding role and reinforce the NBA’s commitment to transparency.”
The Officiating Advisory Council, which will focus on the future of officiating, will include retired General Martin Dempsey; former US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former longtime NBA referee Steve Javie. The council will also include current players, coaches and referees who will be named at a later date.
The NBA also announced that it would increase the officiating staff by 25 percent within three years; use a new, data-driven game review system to create objective referee measurement standards and track progress regarding call accuracy and errors per game over multiple seasons; leverage technology to develop innovative methods to train officials, including the use of virtual reality; improve and expand the process by which teams inquire about specific plays or offer input on the officiating program.
The league said it would also install a newly-created postgame survey process for coaches to share officiating feedback in real time. It added that it will develop guidelines and establish forums to improve decorum and in-game communications among players, coaches and referees.
Also to be introduced is a new scheduling system to optimize the chemistry and composition of officiating crews and ensure rest for individual referees.
The NBA recently expanded the use of its Replay Center, unveiled a replay video archive and initiated real-time postings on its social media of the replays used by officials to make calls during replay reviews.
In other moves to increase transparency, the NBA added referee names alongside calls in official play-by-play reports and now shares play-by-play reports detailing all calls and material non-calls that occur in the last two minutes.