NCAA, Referee, Womens Basketball, Tommi Paris

NCAA Replaces Referee From Game Due To Background Conflict

Tommi Paris did not disclose that she attended Chattanooga, which was one of the teams playing in the contest

During halftime of a recent NCAA Tournament first-round game on Saturday, March 23, in Charlotte, North Carolina., the league had to replace a referee due to a background conflict.

According to The Associated Press, referee Tommi Paris was not allowed to resume her officiating duties at the Chattanooga-North Carolina State playoff game after it was revealed that she received a master’s degree from Chattanooga. After discovering that Paris once attended the school, she was removed and replaced by Angelica Suffren, who had previously officiated the first game at the arena.

Officials stated that if they had known Paris had gone to Chattanooga for her collegiate duties, she would not have been assigned to work that game.

“There was a switch of game officials at halftime of the Chattanooga-N.C. State first-round game because it was learned after the game had started that Umpire 2 Tommi Paris had a background conflict that, if known, would prevent her from working that assigned game,” the NCAA said in a written statement provided to The Associated Press.

Paris’ replacement, Suffren, worked the contest before the Chattanooga-N.C. State, the Green Bay versus Tennessee game. Although Danielle Jackson had been listed as a standby official for the game, the NCAA said in a statement that the decision to send Suffren back instead of using Jackson was “because it provided the most on-court experience and allowed the game to maintain a full officiating crew, plus standby.”

An online profile for Paris states that she received a master’s degree from Chattanooga. The association asks all officials for the NCAA Tournament to reveal if they have any school affiliations to avoid potential conflicts. It was not done in this instance.

“They literally just … got me in the locker room and said they were making a change,” Chattanooga coach Shawn Poppie said of the halftime incident. “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t see anything specific. Maybe this is the second time in my career that’s happened. But the other one, there was an injury, so you knew. But this one, I’m not really sure.”

N.C. State won the game by a score of 64-45.