NCAA Sees a Conflict in Referee's Assignment

Tommi Paris is removed from alma mater's game at halftime
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2024 11:50 AM CDT
NCAA Sees a Conflict in Referee's Assignment
Official Tommi Paris runs down the court during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

The NCAA changed one of the officials at the half of the Chattanooga-NC State game Saturday because of a background conflict. Tommi Paris was removed from the NCAA Tournament first-round game and replaced by Angelica Suffren, who had worked the first contest at the site. A statement issued after an inquiry from the AP said the switch was made "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." An online profile says Paris received a master's degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, per CNN.

The NCAA asks officials being considered for the tournament to disclose school affiliations to avoid potential conflicts. In this case, that didn't happen. "They literally just … got me in the locker room and said they were making a change," Chattanooga coach Shawn Poppie said of when he learned at halftime. Suffren, who worked the earlier Green Bay-Tennessee game, was on the court for the second half of Chattanooga-NC State game. Danielle Jackson had been listed as the game's standby official. The decision to send Suffren back out to the court was made "because it provided the most on-court experience and allowed the game to maintain a full officiating crew, plus standby," the NCAA's statement said. NC State won 64-45 and will play West Virginia on Monday.

(More NCAA tournament stories.)

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