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Kelsey Reynolds, M.S. '16

Kelsey Reynolds, M.S. '16

Calling the shots: Alumna prepares for career as NBA/WNBA referee

A love for the game of basketball combined with a graduate degree in exercise physiology resulted in an amazing career opportunity for Kelsey Reynolds, M.S. ’16.

She was one of eight chosen from an applicant pool of more than 500 to train as a National Basketball Association referee. Reynolds has spent the months since graduation in the NBA’s Referee Development Program.

Participants commit to three years of training that prepares them to officiate in the NBA’s minor league basketball organization before moving up to the NBA and WNBA.

They learn all aspects of officiating, from proper mechanics and positioning to making accurate calls. Knowledge about the NBA operation is gained with a rotation through corporate departments, including the analytics area where games are reviewed for call accuracy.

The bulk of Reynolds’ time has been spent officiating games for men’s and women’s leagues. She refereed a women’s collegiate Division III basketball conference in the New York/New Jersey region, where she currently lives.

She also officiated at Basketball Without Borders camps during the NBA All-Star weekend in February. The camp drew the top 67 high school male and female players from 32 countries and territories.

Reynolds is also becoming more comfortable using technology, which increasingly impacts a referee’s job. NBA games are filmed from nine different angles. Coverage is connected to the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

“Whenever referees are looking at a monitor during a game, they are talking to the folks in New Jersey to make a final ruling on the play,” Reynolds said.

She welcomes the added tool as a way to get the calls right. “All players want is accuracy,” Reynolds said. She has the same desire as she prepares for her dream job by learning to call plays correctly.

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