The nation’s focus is on Indianapolis during the month of March as the 2021 NCAA Tournament takes place at a central location for the first time. Although the focus of the players and coaches remains more on the floor during the game action, the referee plays a key role in the process. On Tuesday evening, veteran referee Burt Smith came into the limelight for scary reasons when he fell to the floor in the first half of the Elite 8 game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the USC Trojans.
One of the officials collapsed during the USC-Gonzaga game. pic.twitter.com/7LG5TdjsHO
– Akash Kendra (@ArashMarkazi) March 30, 2021
The NCAA official, Burt Smith, fell in court. He is now on his feet. pic.twitter.com/BOhBvJT01U
– Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 30, 2021
The play was immediately halted at the 15:44 mark, with trainers and medical professionals around Smith in a hurry. It was quite a scary scene, though, as he was seen hitting his head on the floor while falling backwards.
Eventually, Smith was able to get up and he breathed and spoke during the entire process. A stretcher was brought to take him off the floor, but by the time Smith stepped off the floor, he was alert and appeared to be in good spirits.
Good news: Referee Burt Smith was up and sensitive as he was being ejected from the court. 4pic.twitter.com/IoTu4LWWCh
– ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 30, 2021
After the incident, Jean Sterol, working as part of a TBS broadcast, indicated that Smith was “feeling light-headed” and that “he’s stable.”
TBS says the official Burt Smith felt lightheaded while in court and is now being sent to the locker room for trainers. His condition is stable.
– Ross Delenger (@ rossdelanger) March 30, 2021
The NCAA later announced that Smith would not need to be hospitalized.
Update on official Burt Smith. HeIs “alert and stable” and will not be rushed to the hospital. Big news after a scary scene.
– Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 31, 2021
As far as the game is concerned, Lucas was a replacement officer in the building at Oil Stadium, and was able to step into it. Nevertheless, the more important thing is Smith’s health, and we want to evaluate him best. And hopefully will feel better in short order.