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Original Issue

THE QUESTION: Do basketball referees favor the home team? (Asked of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S basketball correspondents)

The Columbus Citizen-Journal
Columbus, Ohio
Definitely, but generally unconsciously. Many are influenced by crowd reactions; some are intimidated by the home coach. The official who is out of position frequently lets the partisan audience's judgment serve as his own.

The Courier-Journal
Consciously, officials attempt to be objective on any court and for the most part succeed. However, subconsciously, in important games before big home crowds, they may slightly favor the home team.

The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City
Yes, but not nearly so much as they did a few years ago. I've seen a number of games in which the home team was itself "homered." A few years ago it would have bordered on the fantastic to even imagine such a thing happening.

The Houston Post
Yes. The integrity of basketball officials is beyond question. But the reactions of the crowd undoubtedly influence their decisions. Although conscientious and fair, the officials are anxious to please, and their anxiety to lean over backward . and satisfy the home crowd often affects their calls.

The Washington Post and Times Herald
Not intentionally, but it seems at times that the crowd and the official's familiarity with what the home team is trying to accomplish do influence a referee's subconscious, and as a result—his whistle. Statistics prove that home teams receive more calls in their favor. This cannot be called a coincidence year after year.

El Paso Times
Intentionally no, but in fact yes, at times. Some officials are unknowingly influenced by familiarity with team, coach and the court. But I've seen officials lean over backward to avoid partiality and actually penalize the home team. Favoritism toward the home team is generally in the mind of the beholder.

St. Louis
This seems to happen occasionally but, I think, much less frequently than, say, 10 or more years ago. When unusual bias appears, I believe it is usually because an official lacks the quickness to be positive about what he has seen. Therefore he guesses. When he guesses, his sympathies often affect his calls.