Fouls and Violations by Kevin Sparrock
9/27/2016 - Still waiting


  A New Season. A New Process.
Yes, a new basketball season is upon us. So I have a new drawing process.  Thanks to the IPad Pro and the Apple Pencil I've rebooted the Fouls and Violations Webcomic. I just had to.  And it was time. Look for new updates and a fresh design.

Please view my Youtube video of the drawing process.

Happy Traveling.

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 01:08:00 +0000
Some Daily Art

Here’s some daily art. Jeff Smith, who works in the WNBA, celebrated a birthday this weekend. As a gift, his family commissioned me to come up with a caricature. Enjoy.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 18:45:00 +0000
Quote of the Day:
"Your goals deserve commitment, show it respect."

Ronnie Nijmeh

Thu, 26 May 2011 21:09:00 +0000
Being Wrong
Being wrong isn't fatal, it's merely something we'd prefer to avoid. We have the privilege of being wrong. Not being wrong on purpose, of course, but wrong as a cost on the way to being right.
Seth Godin

Sat, 21 May 2011 13:37:00 +0000
Quote of the Day
"Relationships improve when the person being listened to feels understood, empathically listened to, and not judged."

Carl Rogers

Wed, 11 May 2011 01:33:00 +0000

“Cheater!” That’s what a fan called me after I called a blocking foul. I didn’t know the coaches, the players, or the fans. I never met the player’s parents or their cousins. The tournament was in the Bronx. I’m a kid from Brooklyn. The only connection I had to anyone at the game was with the guy who ran the tournament. That conversation lasted 30 seconds on the phone a week prior to the game. So you see, there was NO connection to anyone affiliated with the game. But at 5:50 of the first quarter at a 4th grade kids game …I was a “Cheater.”

Tue, 10 May 2011 02:21:00 +0000
Quote of the Day:
“You can't applaud a referee.”
Alex Ferguson
Manager, Manchester United Football

Thu, 21 Apr 2011 04:49:00 +0000

Flat front pants are back in style. They’ve actually been in style for a few years but I’ve been in denial. I like/ love pleated pants. Don’t get me wrong; I have flat front dress pants, suit pants and khaki’s. For a night out on the town: Flat Front Pants. For working in an office: Flat Front Plants. For Refereeing Basketball: PLEATED PANTS.

When my basketball journey began in 1998, we where wearing flat front pants. These pants where made with a fire swallowing polyester fabric. You’d catch fire if you stood to close to a radiator. Flat front pants where tight, uncomfortable and left scars. They almost made me give up refereeing basketball.

‘Men shouldn’t wear pleated pants’.

I hear fashion experts say that on talk shows and reality shows. Then you get friends, girlfriends and wives repeating this. I wish they would stop. I think folks are imagining the days of Doctor J and Magic Johnson, with those tight booty shorts. Referees need comfort. All you need is one overweight referee to trump the Magic Johnson visual.

I pray that flat front pants for basketball referee don’t make a come back. That would be a fruitless nightmare.

Tue, 19 Apr 2011 20:19:00 +0000
Referee Lanyard

A fellow referee told me my lanyard was illegal. I wear a fox 40 lanyard with a cool clasp. The lanyard is a little thicker than usual and a heavier weight. The only difference is that it has multiple Fox 40 logo’s on it. The High School and NCAA rule book specify that players can not wear multiple logo’s on there uniform, but not referees. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.

Folks don’t care. Now if I mess up a block/charge call, the coach will say, “He’s horrible! He can’t get a block /charge call correct. His fat behind can’t get down the court. He’s blind and.....Oh yea, that’s an illegal lanyard. It has multiple logo’s. He’s in violation.” LOL

Hey Fox 40, please make a lanyard without multiple logo’s.

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 19:58:00 +0000
This is your Life.

Thanks to my friend Douglas Hines at Freshmaker Design for sharing this photo. I appreciate the inspiration.
Thu, 14 Apr 2011 15:56:00 +0000
How to steal like an artist
I wanted to share this inspiring link. To all of my creative folks, check it out. I have to thank for the link. Enjoy.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 22:24:00 +0000
The process of redesigning and developing the site is near completion.

New Features:
  1. The 'Random Strip' button. You no longer have to go into the archive to start somewhere in the middle. Hit 'Random Strip' and you get to jump somewhere,... anywhere in the middle.
  2. I had a few request to purchase prints of my strip. This is how its done: Locate the strip you want. Take not of the date. Select 'More Original art and Prints'. This puts you into my archive. Select the strip and you will be prompted to purchase the art through paypal. Purchase and wait. Hopefully not to long. Give me 7-10 days.
  3. Now you can comment directly on my blog post. Please be courteous, this is a family strip. That means no cussing or lewd comments. If you have to ask if its OK to say something, it probably isn't.

I'm excited. I hope you are. Thanks for your patience.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 13:30:00 +0000
"Old-school Sunday-paper goodness"

I love creating the webcomic Fouls and Violations. I never put a lot of thought on how people saw my work. This was a project I’ve always dreamed of doing.

I want to thank the 3AM Comic for the review of my webcomic, Fouls and Violations. Even if it was a bad review I probably would be excited that someone took the time to look at my work. Thanks for your blessings. I truly appreciate the love

Please check out this link: 3AM Comic

Or go to 3AM Comics post on April 9, 2010.

Safe travels.

Just in Case you missed the posting.....Read below.

Not a comic, don’t read

APRIL 9, 2010
by teax2

I don’t like not posting comics. But I don’t like going too long without ANY post at all either, and technically you’re going to get comics in this post, just not from ME. Here are a couple I’ve found to be pretty cool, by other people, who manage to update more than I do. A LOT more.

Ever wondered what it’s like to ref amateur basketball? I haven’t either. But while Kevin Sparrock’s art is old-school Sunday-paper goodness, the humor is anything but used-up.

Just read this from the beginning. TRUST ME. Of particular hilariousness to people who have collected all seven emeralds and fifty rings in Casino Night Zone Act 2 and beat the electric sphere boss in 7.5 seconds.

Anyway, I’m at work on a script and its art will likely appear here in the next couple of weeks. Script Frenzy is so great. But getting feedback on your ideas is even better.

Sat, 10 Apr 2010 16:36:00 +0000

On February 24, 2010, I ran a series of strips about the subject halitosis. What inspired my thoughts was my inability to get teams out of the timeout huddles. There where things that really annoyed coaches. Like blowing your whistle, which in some leagues you’re not supposed to do. Or speaking loud or shouting to get there attention. This is also annoying and totally work against you.

So one day, I decided to have onion soup for lunch and skip the breath mints before the game. When a team didn’t leave the huddle, I spoke very calmly, “First horn.” Two players spun their heads around and said, “What the f&%#@.” Incredibly each player would back further away from me the more I encroached on their huddle.

I had another discovery that game. Coaches avoided long conversations with me. I think they where afraid to tell me, ‘You stink’. In fear that I would give them a technical foul.

What a thrill, a game with little to no conversation with coaches. I’m not sure it would work every game, but for forty minutes, life was grand.

Thu, 11 Mar 2010 19:32:00 +0000
Jack Plunkett

Long time women's college basketball referee Jack Plunkett passed away this season of a heart attack. Jack Plunkett, 56, is survived by his wife, Sue, and five children. The family lives in Jenkintown, PA.

Fellow division 1 official Warren Harding said, “Most people can’t name all the referees that worked the last three Final Fours. That’s because the greatest impact you make in life are not in your accomplishments but in how you help others around you.”

I met Jack Plunkett this summer. He was one of the instructors teaching about mechanics and positioning. He critiqued my performance once. He didn’t say much. He said enough. I never got an opportunity to speak with him again. What has been more profound to me is how after his death he has been able to impact so many. In a short period of time, I learned how wonderful a person Jack Plunkett was. Jack Plunkett, you should know that your peers have spoken so impeccably about your influence in there lives. You are loved and the referee community misses you.

Sat, 06 Mar 2010 01:04:00 +0000
Opinions are like Butt holes
Opinions are like Butt holes.
Everyone has one.
I’m always amazed how a referee/ observer/ fan can say that one referee is ‘Great’. And another referee/ observer/ fan can say that same official is ‘Horrible’. I always wonder where people base their opinions. I’ve worked with plenty of officials who were labeled great and I walked away saying, “This greatness should be relabeled loser”. On the flip side I’ve encountered someone labeled, “horrible” and I wondered if this idea of horrible could be bottled and preserved.

The impression you get from working with a referee is totally different from the impression an observer gets from watching someone from the stands. I guess it all depends on your pet peeve. I had a referee who didn’t like working with me because I called in there subs. I had an official hate me because I had a double whistle on a foul. I had a referee label me horrible because I didn’t stand in the proper timeout position. I wonder if these peeves had anything to do with basketball.

I also have this delusional thought that I know what is important and what makes a good referee. I care if a referee has my back. Don’t sell me out to dry to a supervisor. Tell the whole truth. I messed up one play with two seconds remaining in the game and you messed up five plays. I don’t care if you blow in my primary, just be right. Oh yea, be a good person first. See I told you...delusional.

See there’s someone out there who has worked with me and used the words horrible and terrible. The truth is, they’re probably right. That day I probably did something that was there referee pet peeve. Chances are, I likely had a bad game. Or, I had my gas face on. That never goes over well with my partners. I wonder if they were right. Am I horrible? Who’s opinion should you listen to? Should I really care?

This season I had a horrible game. I remember beating myself up about my poor selection of calls and my patience. My fifteen year old daughter who was in attendance turned to me as i kicked myself and said, “Dad, for what its worth, I think you did a great job. I thought it was pretty cool.” Sometimes my daughter can drive me nuts, but her Butt hole opinion is the only one that matters to me.

Safe traveling.

Wed, 17 Feb 2010 18:53:00 +0000

 J-WARE is underwear created by textile experts from the University of Tokyo. One of the astronauts of the Space Shuttle has the pleasure of sporting this odor–free garment. This underwear is designed to kill bacteria, absorb water, insulate the body and dry quickly. It’s also flame-resistant and anti–static proof.  Not to mention it’s comfortable and stylish. (yea right)

This underwear is designed to be worn for an entire week.

After reading this I know that three quarters of the men on the planet are cheering and ALL woman of the world are screaming.  Unless my water at my home mysteriously shuts off, a nuclear disaster, or Nostradamus’ end of the world prediction comes true, I can’t think of any reason to wear the same underwear two days in a row. Let alone a week.  

Unfortunately, there’s some referees out there in love with this product and its not even in stores yet. 

“I can referee three games with the same underwear! Watch out!”  

I know, I know, I hate that visual. 

When I first read about this astronaut, I felt sorry for him. Then I saw his picture before he got on the space shuttle. He had this huge smile from ear to ear. He’s either real happy or can’t wait to get on the space shuttle so he can scratch. In my eyes he’ll forever be known as the “Underwear Dude.” If someone sees him in the airport, people won’t say, “There’s the Space Shuttle Astronaut.”  They’ll say, “That’s the Underwear Dude.” At the mall, “That’s the Underwear Dude.” At the local bodega, “That’s the Underwear Dude.”


Thu, 26 Mar 2009 03:16:00 +0000
Please don't throw him

I refereed a ton of sixth and seventh grade boys' game when I first started. Back then you could work at least four games a day. Basketball junkie was an understatement. These where the games where the parents would scream, stomp and sometimes curse you out. The coaches where just as bad. 

I recall a game where this coach kept giving me crazy beef on every play.  I drew my line in the sand and he crossed it. 

What did he win?

A technical foul and a possible trip to snow covered streets of northern New Jersey.

Of course the coach wouldn’t stop complaining after the first technical.  Just before I decided to send him on his fun filled vacation, one of the kids walked up to me and said, “Please don’t throw him out.  That’s my Dad, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

This might have been the only time I could physically feel my jaw drop and eye lids widen. 

This was one of the moments in life where you realize the kids are smarter than the parents. They were content running up and down the court. They were playing on a team. Had a tee shirt with a number on the front.  The referees made it feel official. For these kids, this was their NBA. They were living out there Jordan, Magic and Bird fantasies on the court. These days its Lebron, Kobe, and Wade.They where living the life. I was just blessed to be apart of it.

By the way, I had to get a parent from the bleachers to finish the game after I tossed the coach out the gym. 

Tue, 03 Mar 2009 13:27:00 +0000
LBA, Leader of the Bonehead Association

Being the basketball junkie that I am. I decided to help a buddy out and referee the local men's league. Mistake number one. Never, ever, ever, ever, work the local men's league during the season.
Introducing the LBA, Leader of the Bonehead Association. This is the local cat that complains at the jump ball that I didn't toss the ball high enough. And yes, his team gets the first possession of the jump ball. He's the cat who murmurs under his breath the whole game. He's the dude who gets a technical foul 5-10 minutes into the game. And yes, he can't play. Not even a little bit. ?A few of the guys who play know I work the WNBA. They're good dudes but I wish they wouldn't tell captain LBA (Leader of the Bonehead Association) that I work in the WNBA. The first thing Mr. LBA complains about when he trips over his shoelaces is, "This is a man's game". He says this with a whine and a smirk, and under his breath. I'm good at ignoring stuff but every so often the little demon gets on my shoulder and has to mess my flow up. So on this wonderful occasion, Mr. LBA pulled my last nerve. With four minutes remaining and his team down 25 he found the opportunity to talk under his breath. "This isn't woman's basketball". All of a sudden the little demon on my shoulder grabbed my vocal cords in his little hand and forced me to blurt out. "You're right because Candace Parker would have dunked on you and would have told your momma and little girlfriend how you cried like a..." And then I yanked the demon off my neck.
At home, I look forward to telling my lovely wife about this great day in sports. She'll roll her eyes and probably tell me to avoid that league.
I won't tell her about the ejection and the almost fight.

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 08:32:00 +0000
Don't be afraid.

During one of my games this weekend, I saw my two partners talking amongst themselves. This was during the pre-game and timeouts. Every time I walked over to them they’d stop talking. What made it worst, they would have a conversation and then look over at me with this smirk on their faces.  Yup, I got paranoid. They had to be talking about me. I didn’t buy into the idea of  ‘partner chemistry’. They only worked a few games together. Even during the halftime break they where reluctant to talk. So during a timeout I asked, ‘What’s going on?’ Without hesitation my partner responded, ‘Man, I don’t want to say anything that will end up in your comic strip’.

Too funny.

I guess I never realized my partners would be cautious of what they said or their actions around me during the game. So I’m here to tell you.  Yes, you will end up in a strip if you say or do something comical. The truth is, I can’t continue to beat up on my mishaps in basketball. And believe me when I say, its all in fun. No names will be posted. (snicker)  I’m serious. LOL


Mon, 19 Jan 2009 17:07:00 +0000

I love it. I'm in the
newspaper.  And it's not about a missed call. Or a rule I misinterpreted.  My local paper runs a who's who in town article every week and they picked little old me. 
It started out as an article about just my Webcomic and turned into an article about the WNBA.  I get some major airplay about my strip. It's in the PTW Sport section of the Parsippany this Week. Check it out:

Safe traveling

I realize the Daily Record broke the link on their website to my article. Below is the text to the article.  Enjoy.

What's the best part of being a WNBA referee?
The best part is refereeing basketball at its highest level. In the WNBA you have the best Division one college athletes competing in one league. This opportunity isn’t afforded to many. I recognize the blessing given to me and I cherish the moment.
How is officiating a WNBA game different than a NBA game?
Well, I never had the opportunity to work in the NBA.  The closest thing I can compare it to is the NBA Developmental League where I worked four seasons.  The men’s game is a lot more isolation play. The WNBA is definitely more team oriented.  In the men’s game the play is above the rim. With the emergence of players in the WNBA like Sylvia Fowles and Candice Parker, the league is destined to evolve in that aspect. 
The WNBA players are extremely crafty at fooling the referee or ‘fool the ref’ plays. I had to get use to how often the player’s flop and clamp. If you’re late in seeing two opponents lock up, more than likely you’ll get the play wrong.
What drove you to become a referee?
12 years ago my cousin approached me about refereeing. He worked two sports, basketball and baseball. At the time, I was still playing in a few New York City recreational tournaments. Refereeing was a great opportunity to stay involved in the game without beating my body up on the court.  I had just purchased a home so the extra money came in handy. There was referee class in the Kips Bay, in the Bronx. The program was run by S.U.B.O.A (Sports United Basketball Officials Associations), which lasted about four or five months. You started out learning the High School rules which you where continuously tested on. Later in the program they put you onto the court to referee 10th and 11th graders.  Each game was video taped and you would be critique on your position and appearance.  Back then call selection was the least of my worries.  I had a hard enough time remembering to blow my whistle when someone got fouled. Some will argue that I still don’t. I worked a lot of basketball. In a weekend you could probably work 8 -10 kids games on average.  Seeing plays over and over helped my ability to referee. I also had good people around me who pushed me to get better. Every summer I attended a different basketball camp where I was eventually invited to work Junior College basketball in New Jersey. This led to Division 1 basketball that soon led to the WNBA.

Why should children get into basketball?
Basketball is a classroom for life. It teaches so many valuable lessons. You learn responsibility, selflessness, persistence, integrity, leadership and teamwork. With all of your individual talents, if you don’t trust in your teammates, the team will never reach its full potential. 
What's the hardest thing about being a referee? 
Definitely the travel.  Being away from home and fighting through bad weather isn’t glamorous. Most of the time, I’m in a city two maybe three days.  It’s definitely exhausting whether driving or flying. The WNBA is unique in that they have a summer season.  The weather is a little favorable but equally exhausting.
Referees put in a lot of hours of work off the court. Staying in condition, eating right and video tape review. I try to get a tape of all of my games to look at plays. Tape review is the best way officials improve.
What's the most difficult foul to call?
For me the toughest calls are out-of-bounds plays. You try to focus on whether a player deflected a ball. If you don’t have the right angle you can’t tell if the ball changed direction because of a deflection. Out-of-bounds plays happen extremely fast and you can be easily fooled.
 Most people assume that Block-charge is the toughest call. Refereeing is about angles. Like every call if you don’t have the same camera angle it will look different depending on where you’re sitting. That’s why videotape review is helpful you can compare what you see to what is seen at live speed.  It’s a great tool. Referees get one shot. The television audience gets 5 or 6 times to see if the play is incorrect.
What's your best memory as a WNBA referee?
My best memory in the WNBA is my first game at Madison Square Garden. I was born in Brooklyn New York. I got that priceless feeling standing on the Garden floor. My wife, kids, relatives and close friends where in the audience. I can’t recall ever having that many butterflies before a basketball game. I don’t think I relaxed until after my first call. None of the other WNBA cities made me feel like this. This is without a doubt my biggest highlight.
What's it like working with WNBA players?
The players are great. They recognize the responsibility there blessed with. On the court the players want to win. They compete hard and they demand your best. During the game, if something is missed there will definitely be a response.
What's the first skill a child should develop to become a good basketball player?
Tough question.  You have to create good practice and work habits. If you start out with poor dribbling or shooting habits it becomes harder to break out of it. If you don’t have a coach, the Internet has so many free resources to help you with the fundamentals of the game. You have to practice, practice, and practice. Yes we’re talking about ‘Practice’. 
What's your blog's name and what's it about?
I do a webcomic called ‘Fouls and Violations’, Life of a referee uncovered. It’s the web comic that shows a fresh look at the referee world.  Outside of refereeing, I’m a freelance illustrator/ graphic artist.  I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and I’ve worked in the creative world for 18 years.  I’ve always wanted to do a comic strip and what could be a better collaboration of two passions in my life, basketball and art.   Log on to  four days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  Friday is the weekend color strip.  

Fri, 09 Jan 2009 18:51:00 +0000
Happy New Year

 I hope everyone had a blessed Holiday season. It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog. No I haven’t forgotten. I could do like the airlines and use the economy as an excuse for why something isn’t done. But the truth is, I just needed to enjoy my holiday. I also didn’t want my web comic quality to suffer.  As much as I enjoy writing in my blog, my webcomic is what you want to see. If that crashes, so does my website. 

New things will be happening this year for Fouls and Violations. I look forward to selling t-shirts on my site. If you have suggestions please drop me a line at I’m also looking forward to the first Fouls and Violations book. 

Please keep logging on.

Safe Traveling

Fouls and Violations

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 04:38:00 +0000
Thank you readers,

Fouls and Violations webcomic, Life of a referee uncovered officially launched on October 16, 2008. As of today, December 7, 2008, I’ve received over 5,500 hits on my page. This is pretty good since I’ve never advertised. My readership has come via word of mouth, my family, friends and the referee community.

Fouls and Violations is a creative project I’ve brainstormed for the last two years. This platform is a great marriage of professions. I love being creative and I love sports, not just basketball. Go Giants! Yea, I know they lost yesterday.

Fouls and Violations is probably the toughest project I’ve worked on. Yes, tougher than refereeing a basketball game with a few thousand faithful fans calling you everything starting with an “f” ending in ‘ing’. This webcomic are my thoughts on webspace for the world to see. (As sick as they might be.) Unfortunately, most of the stuff I lampoon are things I’ve seen, done and heard. Yea, I make stuff up too.

I love the challenge of having fun. Being critiqued by everyone. Every spelling error (I’ve had one of them already and thanks readers for pulling my coat), every drawing mishap are growing pains I’ll overcome. I appreciate your patience and love through my opening act. I’ll work hard on having fun and enjoying the moment. All you have to do is laugh out loud every third webcomic.

Safe traveling.
Mon, 08 Dec 2008 01:14:00 +0000

From the Fouls and Violations family we wish you a blessed weekend.

Safe traveling

Fri, 28 Nov 2008 06:37:00 +0000
The Forum page is up!

This is the place where you can provide your thoughts. Please be kind. We have children and small animals who view this site.

Have a blessed day.

Safe traveling.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 05:47:00 +0000

FOULS AND VIOLATIONS    Copyright ©2016  Kevin Sparrock

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