Terrible officiating needs addressing

On February 1, the Vanderbilt men's basketball team traveled to Knoxville and lost a basketball game 69-62. During that game Vanderbilt out rebounded, out shot and out did the Volunteers in just about every statistical category except one: fouls. Interestingly, even though Tennessee ran a full court press just about the entire game, they managed to shoot 32 free throws to Vanderbilt's 5.

The 21-point advantage from free throws made was more than enough to give the Vols the win. Even the most neutral observers noted the obvious errant calls on Vanderbilt and the no calls on the Volunteers.

Fast forward to February 12 in Knoxville again. The Vanderbilt women's basketball team pays a visit to Tennessee. Again, a Vanderbilt basketball team outplays a Tennessee team the entire game and the key statistic in the game is free throws. Tennessee gets 32 free throws to Vanderbilt's 7. The biggest criminal no call/ call came with seconds left in the game as Carla Thomas attempted to score a potential game tying basketball. The UT player clearly hooked Carla's arm and held her but the official standing 5 feet away conveniently did not see it. Incredibly the official calls a foul on Thomas. Result: Tennessee gets two more free throws on the other end and hangs on for a win despite being outplayed.

If the Vanderbilt administration is serious about the Commodores competing in the Southeastern Conference they must stand up against these injustices. An errant call here or there is understandable. People aren't perfect and mistakes will happen. But these two games against the Vols were called with a total lack of integrity and take a special place in the annals of horribly officiated games.

Vanderbilt players and coaches work just as hard as individuals associated with other programs in America. They deserve sound, fair officiating without favoritism. Vanderbilt fans spend their hard earned money to support Vanderbilt athletics and deserve a chance to experience the thrill of victory just as fans of the big state schools do.

The Vanderbilt administration should demand an accounting from the Southeastern Conference for these two outrageously officiated games. If this problem cannot be fixed, maybe the administration should consider leaving the SEC to join a conference with more integrity and control over its officials.

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