Ref Joe DeRosa returns to basketball

INDIANAPOLIS -- Basketball referee Joe DeRosa is back in the game -- the college game.

The official who was suspended one game without pay during the NBA playoffs for throwing a ball at a fan, was back on the court Saturday for No. 17 Butler's season-opening 83-54 win over Marian on Saturday.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed in an e-mail that DeRosa had retired after officiating last season's NBA finals.

John Adams, the NCAA's coordinator for men's basketball officiating, confirmed it was the same ref and said he was glad to have DeRosa, a longtime NBA veteran, working college basketball games.

DeRosa became a national figure during last spring's Eastern Conference finals.

At halftime of Game 2 between Boston and Orlando, DeRosa was walking to the scorer's table to get the warm-up jackets for his crew when a fan behind the table approached him, gesturing with his arms and appearing to shout at the veteran official. DeRosa flipped the game ball to the fan, who tossed it back.

The league then took the unusual step of suspending DeRosa for one game without pay.

Nothing of that sort happened Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler spokesman Jim McGrath said the officials are assigned by the Horizon League, not hired by individual schools.

Now DeRosa could become a familiar face at mid-major conferences around the country.

Besides doing Horizon League games, Adams said DeRosa is expected to work games in Conference USA, the Sun Belt Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference.

Bill Benner, the Horizon League's senior associate commissioner for external affairs, declined comment on DeRosa.