Following the announcement that drones have begun delivering Blaze Pizza, Second Stop, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks straight to student’s dorms on the George Mason campus, the Atlantic 10 conference has released plans to replace at least one human referee per game with an A10 “Ref Bot” for the 2019-2020 season.
The move to Ref Bots is inevitable considering the expense and errors made by humans. For each bot used during a game, the A10 saves $1000 in associated costs. That adds up significantly over the course of a season. The other rationale is the declining quality calls from human referees, which has been noticed and documented over recent years. In testing, robot referees made 12.3% less incorrect calls during the course of simulated games.
A wider rollout of the robots is expected as they continue to use artificial intelligence to learn the nuances of the game. The bots will not be used at VCU home games over concerns that they are not yet able to properly process the rate of fouling that the Rams produce.