By Katelyn Dobbs
KENNESAW, Ga. — Being a college referee is very challenging and stressful, and many people take college referees for granted without knowing how difficult the job really is.
Connor Penn is a college student at Kennesaw State University and a collegiate referee. Penn has always loved basketball and he loves that his job will keep him connected to the sport.
Penn started out refereeing in middle school. After being told he had a natural talent, Penn wanted to progress to the collegiate level.
Penn says refereeing has its pros and cons.
“The pros would be not only the money, but also the experience, good basketball, staying in shape, and meeting new people,” said Penn. “The cons consist of time away and the amount of travel it requires along with the politics and criticism.”
Penn says the job can be demanding, especially with fans and parents of players. The politics can be confusing, frustrating and unreasonable at times.
“For the most part the things people say are ignorant and incorrect so I’m OK with being silent and knowing that these people are speaking nonsense,” said Penn.
Devin Grantiz is another collegiate referee. He also spoke about the threats that have been involved with his job. He said that many people aren’t aware of the amount of criticism and repercussions these men face on and off the court.
“One bad call could ruin your whole reputation of collegiate refereeing,” said Grantiz. “It’s a hard work place at times and can be a scary feeling knowing someone could lash out of you.”
Granitz has been in the collegiate atmosphere for three years now, and he has faced criticism along the way. He wants to work his way up to the NBA one day.