Official. Imagine an game official with the nickname of “Boo”. So it’s gone on for years for Buford (Boo) Grosscup of Lincoln, who officiated football and basketball for 37 years from 1947-1983. In football, he worked 444 games, which included five state championship games, numerous playoff games and the Shrine Bowl. He assisted the Nebraska School Activities Association for 12 years giving rules meetings across the state as well as evaluating and instructing football crews. In basketball, he worked an average of 50 games per year. He assisted the NSAA for 18 years in this sport giving rules meetings as well as supervising state tournament officials. “Boo” officiated the state basketball tournament for 15 consecutive years from 1958 to 1972 and was one of a very few officials to officiate state tournaments in three different decades — the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. He was chosen by the state of Kansas to officiate their boys and girls all-star games. He even made it into films when he was selected as an official in the 1972 National Federation of High Schools football rules film that was produced in Longmont, Colo. As president of the Eastern Nebraska Officials Association. in 1960, he led a program to assist young officials by convincing the Lincoln Public Schools and surrounding schools to allow him to assign referees for all contests below the varsity level. Many officials starting in this program are still working today. He still counsels officials and fields calls on rules interpretations. He officiated almost 3,000 contests in his career.
BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star
Those are the nice things Buford Grosscup was called. Some things aren’t printable.
Grosscup officiated football and basketball and ran a baseball program. In 37 years, he officiated 444 football games, worked 1,850 basketball games. From 1954-67, he administered the Lincoln youth baseball program.
“My God, everyone owes kids something,” said Grosscup. “You do this because you love sports and kids.”
Grosscup is one of 22 people who will be inducted into the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame this year.
Grosscup said other than a few rules changes, most of the differences in sports now compared to when he first started are off the field of play.
“On the court hasn’t changed much. There’s a rotten apple now and then in the stands,” he said. “And that’s more when a parent is involved as the kid’s alter-ego. You can write about sportsmanship, but it all depends on kids getting the proper direction and basic direction from their parents.”
Those changes are societal.
“There used to be three places kids learned behavior — from their parents, from institutions like churches and schools and on the street corner,” he said. “Families turned to institutions and now it’s gone to the third source.”
A teacher at Lincoln High, he was a friend and peer of Scott, who was a standout in athletics in every area — as an athlete, a coach and a contributor.
“I’ve gone back and looked at Links letters (Scott published the Lincoln High newsletter for 45 years, beginning in 1957). There was a lot of love there,” said Grosscup. “Harold didn’t need walls in his office because he had filing cabinets that served as walls. Everywhere I ever traveled around the country, people always asked about Harold because they knew him through the newsletters.”
Grosscup said that now that he is retired from officiating, his wife, Jane, often has to explain to fans when they show up at games.
“She always says, `My husband is just here to observe.’ I can’t stay away from sports just because I’m not officiating any more.”