Rick Hartzell: College Basketball Ref on the Go

Rick Hartzell, the athletics director at Northern Iowa for nine years, resigned from that post last January. He isn’t lacking for work.

Hartzell has always officiated a large number of men’s college basketball games each season and is regarded as among the best in that profession. He reffed 70 games in 2007-08 after 56 and 50 in the two seasons before that.

Rick is off to the races this year. His itinerary in the first week of this season:

Nov. 14: Eastern Washington at Illinois

Nov. 15: Prairie View at Missouri

Nov. 16: Georgia State at Minnesota

Nov. 17: Texas-San Antonio at Iowa

That’s a lot of road time, and a lot of running up and down basketball courts. But the money’s not bad.

Hartzell told me five years ago that the Big Ten paid $850 a game plus expenses, so you know that amount has only risen.

By the way, Hartzell hasn’t been close to the most-worked college basketball official. Nor, to many’s surprise perhaps, is Ed Hightower.

It seems as if you see Hightower working games every night and twice on Saturday. But he called 80 games last year, tied for 24th-most in America. The leader was Big Ten/Big 12 ref Steve Welmer, who had 112 assignments.

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