NCAA removes ref from NC State-Chattanooga women’s game at halftime after discovering where she went to school.

The NCAA women’s tournament created some bizarre drama on Saturday as a referee was removed from the first round game between No. 3 NC State and No. 14 Chattanooga at halftime.

The official in question, Tommi Paris, was officially swapped off the court due to a “background conflict”, but it doesn’t take much digging to see what the issue was.

Paris apparently went to school at Chattanooga, which makes it really curious how she even got assigned to the game in the first place with such an obvious conflict of interest.

March Madness referee dramatically pulled from game at halftime and replaced due to 'background conflict' | The US Sun

NC State won the game, 64-45, and there is no indication that there was any bias in the officiating. In fact, Chattanooga was called for 18 fouls compared to NC State’s 10.

Development after @PackWomensBball v. @GoMocsWBK — they switched official Tommi Paris out at half. A statement from @MarchMadnessWBB says Paris was taken out due to a “background conflict.”


Per a quick Google, Paris got an MA from Chattanooga.

Yet the entire reason why refs do not get to work games involving their alma mater is specifically to avoid even the appearance of favoritism from the officials.

It’s a good sign that the NCAA took quick and transparent action once the mistake was discovered, but surely there will be questions about how the error occurred in the first place.

Once again, the NCAA has some explaining to do.