CORRECTED: NBA: More hires, new guidelines aimed at helping referees

The NBA will hire more referees, bolster their training and feedback and develop guidelines to improve communication and decorum between coaches, players and officials, the league announced Thursday.

The moves come after a six-month review of the NBA officiating program by league operations president Byron Spruell, who oversees referees for the league.

"Our focus with these new initiatives is to build on the already-existing strengths of our officiating program and ensure maximum effectiveness of our officials," Spruell said. "With an eye toward continuous improvement, these measures will put our officials in an even better position to succeed in this demanding role and reinforce the NBA's commitment to transparency."

The review followed a 2016 season which was dogged by refereeing controversies.

The NBA has launched an Officiating Advisory Council to focus on future improvements for referees, including retired General Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; former US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former NBA players turned television commentators Doug Collins and Kenny Smith and former NBA referee Steve Javie.

Current players, coaches and referees will be named later to the panel.

The NBA will boost officiating staff by 25 percent within three years, including a 10 percent jump for next season, while using what the league called "a more diverse and comprehensive approach to sourcing and hiring."

A new data-driven game review system will create objective referee measurement standards and track progress regarding call accuracy and errors over multiple seasons.

Virtual reality and other technology will be used to train officials.

The league will expand the ways teams can inquire about specific plays or comment on officials, including a new post-game survey process to let coaches share feedback in real time.

New guidelines will bolster communications during games between referees and coaches or players, with a new scheduling system designed to maximize chemistry and partnerships on referee crews as well as ensure rest for individual referees.

Recent league moves to bolster officiating include expanded use of its replay center to review calls and detailed reports on all calls or non-calls in the final two minutes of games complete with referee names.