I rarely have anything to say about basketball officials. But I would like to commend Ed Corbett, who works Big East games.
He was the referee who called a foul against a Louisville player with just six tenths of a second left and the score tied at 70-70 in West Virginia’s regular-season finale on March 5.
There were those who insisted that a foul should not be called with the game’s outcome riding on it. There were others who argued Corbett was right — that he was just doing his job.
I most certainly believe if I were a coach and had a choice, he would be in the officiating crew working my games. I always contended that a foul is a foul — period.
It should be called whether it’s committed with one second gone or one second remaining. A foul is a foul! Period.
I also would have said the same whether it was a foul complied by a Mountaineer player. Sure, it likely took a head of courage to blow your whistle when such a close contest was winding down. But an official shouldn’t fail to call a foul regardless of when he happens to see it.
In the aforementioned situation, I’m told that a Louisville player clearly shoved WVU’s Truck Bryant after he came down with a rebound off the Cardinals’ board. Bryant then made two free throws for the 72-70 victory.
Louisville shouldn’t blame Corbett, though the Cardinal who committed the foul obviously wasn’t thinking straight.
Doing what he did cost Louisville an opportunity to win the game in overtime. There was no way Bryant could have fed a teammate the ball in six tenths of a second.
The WVU basket was some 90 feet down the court.
Granted, most officials probably would not have made the call under the prevailing circumstances. But Ed Corbett did and, again, I applaud him for merely doing his job.
I wish other referees had the guts to make the same call. Any that wouldn’t, in my opinion, aren’t doing their jobs.