The basketball tip-off should be taken off

Russell Finelsen, Staff Writer

The basketball tip-off is a huge part of the game. Like a football coin flip, whoever gets the ball gets possession first.

However, new questions about the tip-off have been raised after a recent rash of injuries to referees who administer the tip-off. In addition, a tip-off really gives no choice for a jumper. They almost are obligated to get the ball for their own team, so even if they wanted to go onto defense first, they cannot. Therefore, the tip-off should be scrapped.

Rick Crawford and David Hall seem ordinary names to a person that doesn’t watch sports. However, these names are very familiar in the basketball world. Both of these men are referees who were hurt on a basketball tip-off within the last eight days.

On November 29, Crawford was smacked with an elbow, which belonged to Vanderbilt center Damian Jones, after tossing the ball up during the Vanderbilt-La Salle consolation game in the Barclays Center Classic. Crawford was transferred to the hospital with no concussion-like symptoms and only a bruise over his right eye.

Four days later, during overtime in the Wichita State-Utah game, David Hall was hit in the head by an elbow while administering the overtime tip-off. (Both referees were not hurt seriously.)

Even though many injuries had not happened before, at this rate, there should be another injury either today or tomorrow to a referee during a tip-off. These injuries will stop once the tip-off is taken away.

In addition, when a team sends out their man for a tip-off, the mandatory assignment is to get the ball first. Even if the team does not want the ball first, they almost are obligated to get it first. A team has no choice, so even if they want to go on defense first, they cannot. Thus, to create that opportunity, the tip-off should be scrapped.

Basketball should take a lesson off of football. Instead of the tip-off, basketball should develop a coin flip. The visiting team would choose heads or tails, and whoever wins can choose if they want the ball first in the first half or second half. For overtime, it would be the same procedure. This would limit referee injuries and help make it fair for both teams.

The tip-off in basketball should be replaced with the football-based coin flip. Too many referees are getting hurt, and a team cannot choose if they want to get the ball or not with the tip-off. A coin flip will reduce injuries and let a team make a choice.