on February 19, 2012
My review won't do this book justice. It has to be read to be completely understood. But I'll tell you this: James Wolfe has created a hidden gem that every single college basketball fan needs to read at least once. It's that good and it's that important.
The premise is simple. Stanley Osborn is a college basketball referee that has slowly watched the game that he loves turn into something else. Something unrecognizable. A sport surrounded with greed. A sport is desperate need of reform.
What Stanley does next is what should set off an alarm in the minds of every college basketball fan out there. Stanley Osborn, as a referee, decides to fix the biggest game in college basketball. Let that very idea sink in a little bit. A referee puts a plan in place to fix a game that every fan out there is interested in.
As you read the book, the question repeats itself over and over. Is something like this really possible? And the answer is a disturbing truth: of course it is.
The Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA showed us that it's possible. And although this is fiction, the ideas and concepts that are focused on in this book could easily apply to the current landscape of refereeing and college basketball in general.
Here's an excerpt from the "Notes On What I Did, Why, And How I Did It" section that reveals an often overlooked truth:
"Analysts and coaches are fond of saying that they like consistency of the officiating within a game so that the players know how to play. Obviously the rules don't fluctuate within a game, or from contest to contest. They are not different for different conferences or schools. But enforcement is different. What's a foul to one official isn't always a foul to another. What's a foul in one conference isn't one in another. What's a foul one night, isn't another night. What's a foul in the first half may not even be a foul in the second half. How games are officiated varies tremendously from game to game, quarter to quarter, from minute to minute. From player to player. Dare I say some stars are given preferential treatment?"
Still think a referee fixing a game isn't possible? Read the above again. Or better yet, order this outstanding book right now.
on December 18, 2012
This was a really interesting book that caught my attention by the name alone. The book was a very interesting case study on how something like this could be done. It felt a little rushed in the middle of the book, which is really why I gave it only 4 *. It seems like the only detail about the lead up to the championship is that he did it... and he bet on those games. I would have liked to have seen a bit more on the games themselves. What games did he do? Did he do another game with the two teams from the beginning? How about some bigger name games (even if the story only said they were from "BCS Conference" games). The end of the book really bent the book more towards the what could happen... and has in the NBA.
All in all, I'm glad I got this book...
on November 5, 2011
James Wolfe scores again with this tale of a referee out to snag the big bucks in a manner that's strictly out of bounds. Most of us lack the ego to think we can get away with such subterfuge, but not Wolfe's protagonist, who's in it as much for the monetary payoff as he is to prove it can be done. The cast of characters includes folks you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley as well as our ref's friends and enemies in the game. The Road to the NCAA Championship has never been such a trip!