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"It comes down to job security," said one black assistant coach. "If you're a ref, and you have the one black coach in the league mad at you, is that going to cost you your job? No. If you have the eight or nine white coaches in the league mad at you, is that going to cost you your job? Probably so."
The BCA isn't interested in trying to force any referees out of their jobs. "We want to see more black referees, the same way we want to see more black coaches and athletic directors," Washington said. "But the bottom line is we want them to be fair."
There were signs at the women's Final Four in New Orleans of growing support for lowering the rim six to 10 inches for the women. There's a strong possibility that the NCAA women's basketball rules committee will vote on the change at its next meeting, according to rules editor Marcy Weston.
Nora Lynn Finch, associate athletic director at North Carolina State, is one of the proponents of the change. "Every other sport adapts its equipment to the competitors," she says. "Why should women play on the same height basket as the men when we're not as tall? It's the same principle we used in going to a smaller ball, because women's hands in general are smaller than men's."
Lowering the basket would allow women to play the "above the rim" kind of game that the men play. One obstacle is the expense involved in fitting gyms across the country with baskets that can be raised and lowered. Another drawback is that in international competition, the women would be forced to readjust their play to the 10-foot basket. But it would probably be worth it. Lowering the basket could heighten the appeal of the women's game in the U.S.
One measurement that isn't likely to change for the women is the three-point shot distance of 19'9". However, the board of directors of the NABC has recommended that the three-point line for the men be pushed back from that distance to the international distance of 20'6". If that change is approved, there will no doubt be some floors with three three-point lines—one for the men, one for the women and the 23'9" line for the NBA, which means you might see shooters searching for the right line from time to time.
Big Man Off Campus
Tom Odjakjian might have been the busiest man at the Final Four. Odjakjian, a programming manager for ESPN, is responsible for putting together that network's college basketball schedule, and every year he uses the Final Four weekend to get a head start on the next season's slate.
He does it by meeting with anyone who has the power to help make TV commitments for his or her school. Odjakjian had about 10 meetings a day in Indianapolis, not to mention the impromptu sessions that happened when he accidentally ran into school officials.