As the NCAA Final Four gets underway, league officials have announced a crucial change to the game, which coaches and players alike have long sought:
Courtside attorneys to argue against unfair calls.
For too long, college basketball has languished under the totalitarian fist of referees. Lacking physical stature and expressing themselves only with their shrill whistles, referees have controlled the game with autocratic impunity.
When bad calls were made, what redress have players or coaches had? None.
But starting in the 2010/11 season, players and coaches will finally have legal representation on the court.
Each team will be allowed as many attorneys as they can afford, which may affect the economics of coaches' salaries. Team lawyers will each be allowed two investigators and will have the opportunity to file briefs on the part of their clients at any point during a game.
When a brief challenging a call is filed, the game will be suspended and an emergency court convened off-court to hear arguments, review evidence and render a judgment on the call. Off-court judges will have the authority to overrule referees.
The Referee Union For Collegiate Athletics is up in arms over this development, but their strenuous efforts to oppose this rules change were simply too little, too late in the face of the overwhelming outcry by coachs, players and fans for on-the-court justice.
Television networks have voiced concerns that courtside justice will, in all likelihood, cause games to last in excess of 12 hours, but NCAA officials were unmoved by network appeals, citing the popularity of television court personalities, such as Judge Judy and Judge Roy Brown, who are rumored to be in negotiations with the NCAA to make guest appearances on disputed calls.