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SHOES - Primarily or Entirely Black?


Michael Leavitt Blog Test taking is always frustrating for me. I struggle getting the right answer and then harmonizing this with putting the answer that the test taker wants us to answer as what they feel is right. Most of the time my desires are in harmony, but there are always 4 or 5 questions out of 100 that rub me the wrong way.

Take a look at this one for the 2018-19 NFHS Part 1 basketball test...

An official's uniform shall consist of all of the following, EXCEPT:

  • a. Black-and-white striped shirt.
  • b. Black pants.
  • c. Black jacket.
  • d. Entirely black shoes.
  • e. Black socks.

The reference is straight forward.

2-1-1: Officials and Their Duties - GAME AND TABLE OFFICIALS - ART 1. The official's uniform shall be black-and-white striped shirt, black pants, primarily black shoes, and socks.

That seems pretty simple, except there is a big difference between the word "primarily" in the rule book and "entirely" on the test. You can try to convince me until you are blue in the face, but primarily will never mean entirely and this answer would be false.  Here in Utah we are required to have a black jacket for pregame, even though it is not mentioned in 2-1-1.

So what is the test writers objective. They get 100 chances to reinforce the principles within the rule book, case book, and officials manual. Each question should be important, with a clear objective. So with that in mind, what are they trying to get us officials to learn about the uniform? It would seem that they are drawing our attention to our shoes. The rule book wants us to know that our shoes should be primarily black.


PRIMARILY - adverb - for the most part; mainly.

As this relates to shoes, for the most part they should be black. If that is the case, then why is "Entirely Black" considered a correct answer for our test? It seems that the test writer wanted to stress that jackets are not part of the "required" uniform, and they missed the mark on shoes. Yes, I got this question wrong, and it chaps my hide.


This question does not have one right answer. The reality is that both C & D fit the "EXCEPT" request. The only comfort the study and research gives to me is that I know what is required and what is optional regarding our uniform. I know that the test writer is feeling satisfaction that he tripped me up. Yet I know that he will never acknowledge that he screwed up his question and there is no one right selection for a right answer... Drop the mic!

Make it a great game! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah


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