in Digital Web

NBA launches a video rule book

Fans think there are unwritten rules that govern the NBA’s referees and how infractions are called depending on who the player is that commits the violations. The league decided to create an online rule book to address these concerns. The video rule book launches today and is online at

From the article:

“It’s very difficult, unless you’ve played the game at a very high level, or better yet, officiated the game at a very high level, to understand the complexity of our rules simply by reading them,” said Stu Jackson, the N.B.A.’s executive vice president for basketball operations.

The league is aware of the need to educate fans — especially now, with a staff of replacement referees on the court and the regular referees locked out over a contract dispute.

Fan sentiment toward N.B.A. officiating generally ranges from mild frustration to fiery cynicism. Some fans believe an unwritten rule book governs the sport: that superstars get the benefit of the doubt, home teams get more favorable calls and no one ever gets called for traveling.

The league has tried for years to dispel those beliefs as myths and to explain how the referees do their job. The effort became more urgent after a veteran official, Tim Donaghy, was convicted in 2007 of conspiring with gamblers, which only increased the public’s cynicism.

The reason I’ve been posting a lot of articles on sports lately, is simple. There’s a lot of overlap in the way that athletic organizations are handling social media and web issues, that can be instructive for higher education. Not so much for athletic departments, for the institutions themselves. I know that the corporate examples get more attention because of the increased desire to relate business and education together, but I think sports are a better example, because of the parallels between their relationship between constituents and also, because athletic institutions are often home to sports that in some parts of the world would resemble something out of a top-level professional league.

Interesting move by the NBA, but I doubt anyone who follows the league with any regularity actually believes this means that LeBron James will get treated the same way on the court — at home — as say, some unknown 10th guy during the same game.