Longtime college basketball referee Bert Smith collapsed to the floor less than four minutes into Tuesday’s Elite Eight game between Gonzaga and Southern Cal in Indianapolis and was removed from the arena via stretcher.
Smith, who is in stable condition, will not be transported to a hospital and has spoken with family, according to the NCAA.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the issue for Smith but he was sitting up on the stretcher and seemed to be awake, aware and conversing with medical personnel.
CBS/Turner analyst and former college basketball referee Gene Steratore said on the broadcast that Smith was “feeling lightheaded on the court.”
The reason it was such a scary scene is because there was no collision that caused Smith to drop to the floor. As USC was bringing the ball up to start an offensive possession, Smith was standing on the baseline and seemed to just lose his balance for no apparent reason. He fell backwards, hitting his head on the floor and laid on his back motionless with eyes open. Immediately, the emergency medical team in the arena surrounded him.
He was replaced by an alternate, Tony Henderson, who had been at the scorer’s table. Tony Chiazza, originally slated as the alternate for the nightcap between Michigan and UCLA, filled in for Henderson, according to the NCAA.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY Sports reporter Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken